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An Introduction to James
Knapp's Creek it's called today. But its first white man's name, given to it some 235 years ago, was Ewing's Creek, in honor of the pioneer who first settled on it, our James.
It flows in a range of mountains that separate Southern West Virginia and Virginia, rising above Frost in today's Pocahontas County, West Virginia, and flowing southward a few miles until it reaches Minnehaha Springs, where it turns a sharp right corner and then rushes west (it's downhill all the way) to spill out into one of West Virginia's mightiest rivers, the Greenbrier, at the place where Marlinton, the county seat, is today.
It was on Ewing's Creek, up near Frost, that James EWING settled as early as 1750, to be one of the county's first settlers, and it was very likely here that one of his sons, William was born in 1756, possibly the first white child to be born in the confines of what is today Pocahontas County - where our roots go so deep.
Who was James EWING? Where did he come from? Where and when was he born? Who was his wife? His parents?
No one knows the answers to those questions. We can speculate all we want, but no one knows for sure. Nothing has ever been found to give us definite information about our progenitor's early life, about his parents or wife, or about his travels before he arrived in Colonial Virginia. Much has been written but nothing proven.
The first thing we know for sure about our James, is when he appears in what is today Bath County, Virginia. During the last week in April in 1746 there were surveyed for him 245 acres on the Jackson River near Muddy Run not far from today's Warm Springs, Bath's County seat.
Those acres in the James River Basin in the Valley of Virginia were part of the 30,000 acres that had been granted (a grant is a deed from a government) to a syndicate. The syndicate was headed by John LEWIS, prominent pioneer of Staunton. Augusta County, Virginia. It appears that the only active members were his sons, Andrew and Thomas, then 25 and 23. Thomas was the first county surveyor for Augusta. Andrew achieved fame and much respect on the frontier, especially in the military and especially in the matter of the Battle of Point Pleasant, when, as Colonel Andrew LEWIS, he led an army of frontier soldiers against the Indians in what many regard as the first battle of the Revolution.
That grant was the beginning of what is today Bath County. At that time it was part of Augusta County in His Majesty's Colony of Virginia. Augusta, along with Frederick County, had been created from Orange County in 1738. The two new counties contained all of Western Virginia west of the Blue Ridge to the Ohio - Frederick in the northern part and Augusta in the southern portion. It is well to keep in mind that all the events about to be recounted, until we get to the year 1769, took place in Augusta County, a vast area now known by many other names - Bath, Pocahontas and Greenbrier counties included.
In 1736, John LEWIS and Benjamin BORDEN had been granted the right to take 500,000 acres of land anywhere on the James and Shenandoah Rivers. The condition was, however, that 100 families had to settle on the land in 10 years' time. This was accomplished, say historians, by employing the sailing ship of Captain James PATTON , who crossed and returned 25 times with boat loads of "Scotch-Irish" Presbyterian immigrants, all of whom (our James among them, perhaps?) reported to Lewis at Staunton, and whose descendants form a distinct branch of the Scotch-Irish of America.
The Bath County historian, Oren MORTON says pretty much the same thing. He has it that they were of Scotch descent, inhabitants of the County of Londonderry in the Province of Ulster in the North of Ireland.
A word about the Scotch-Irish. That term is of recent coinage (back then anyone from Ireland was called Irish, period) and is inexact. Mostly these immigrants from the North of Ireland (that is, Ulster) were Scotch but there were also English, Celtic Irish and French Huguenots among them. "Scotch-Irish" makes you think that descendants are a mixture of the two nationalities, but they are not. The Scotch who came from Ireland were of pure Scotch blood, even though their families might have been in Ireland 100 years or more.
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At the beginning of the 1600's, Ulster had been conquered and almost depopulated. The British government confiscated several million acres of its lands and colonized them with people from among other places, the Highlands of Scotland. The Scotch settlers were plain, hardy and industrious and they soon redeemed Ulster from its sorry appearance at the close of the conquest.
Yet with the exception of a few breathing spells, there was a nagging persecution of the Ulster people - religious and industrial. The Highland Scotch immigrants were Presbyterian, while the native Irish were Catholics. England looked unkindly on anyone who did not adhere to the Church of England. The Presbyterian ministers were not permitted to perform the marriage ceremony, and at times their congregations would not meet in public. Industry-wise, restrictions were thrown on them to prevent their competition.
It was to get away from this harsh treatment that the people of Ulster began flocking to America in the early 1700's.
James EWING may or may not have been one who flocked with them.
His grandson, Enoch EWING, on being questioned by A.E. Ewing as to the place of James' birth, said James was born in Scotland. A.E. sent that statement to Gilbert EWING, son of George, who returned it with the added notation 'Highlands', meaning that he concurred with the Scotland nativity, his father, also a grandson, having passed down the same tradition.
However it could be that the two grandsons, Enoch and George, just meant that James was of Highland Scotch blood, not necessarily birth, in which case James could have been born in the north of Ireland like his neighbors in the Valley of Virginia.
In either case, he seems to have been foreign born, and that definitely removes him from a relationship, at least a close one, with the other Ewings of America, the ones of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and North Carolina who produced the great Thomas EWING, Adlai Ewing STEVENSON, Maurice EWING, etc. Those families were in America long before 1722, the estimated date of James' birth. I have poured over the genealogies of all the other Ewings in America during Colonial times and find absolutely no link between them and our James.
Enoch and George's idea that James was born abroad is borne out in another branch of the family too. His granddaughter, Jeanet (an Indian John descendant) who married Levi HOWELL, passed this anecdote down to her posterity: It seems that shortly after his arrival in this country, James, who had never seen corn before, was taken by friends into a cornfield to see some. Not knowing what he was looking for, James fingered the tassel, the silk of an ear of corn, and remarked, "Tis a fine, straight stalk, but cruel light grain."
Enoch told A.E. EWING that James came here as a young man and that here he married an "Irish" lass (Irish by birth, perhaps, but no doubt Scotch by inheritance). If by 'young' Enoch meant about 18, and if James came here in 1740, as we suspect, then it figures that his birth year was about 1722. That's only an estimation - but it's probably a pretty good one.
As to Mrs. James EWING, what can I say? James had to have had a wife, as William and John and their sisters had to have had a mother, but nobody knows who she was. In the very early days of gathering family history, Gilbert gave her the name Margaret SERGEANT, and A.E. is responsible for spreading that name widely in his early writings. But in later correspondence he retracted it, and on all his copies of printed matter or carbons of those early letters he had pencilled in, "not so". Gilbert was never quite sure where he'd gotten the name from, and when it later turned out that a John EWING in Pennsylvania had married a Hannah SERGEANT, Gilbert allowed as how maybe he'd confused the two. No marriage record for our James has ever been found.
If I were to give James' wife a name, it would be Sarah. How else to account for John and William, who stuck pretty close to family names, each naming a daughter that? I just think our illustrious grandmother should have a name and so I call her "Sarah" - always in quotes.
While it is generally believed that James went south from the port of Philadelphia to his new found land on the Jackson River, as most of the immigrants did, there is reason to suspect that he may have entered America through other than the widely chosen Pennsylvania port, and come up to Virginia from North Carolina. John, born 27 December 1747, himself recorded in his record book the place of his birth as "Orange County, North Carolina", spelled out just like that. The tradition is preserved in another branch of John's family (the HOWELLS) and it was not the power of suggestion, as they had never seen John's book or even knew of its existence.
Surely John must have known where he was born. And yet the mystery deepens with the knowledge that Orange county, North Carolina, was not even formed until 1752. I hope some future historian can unravel this one.
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James and "Sarah's" children included John and William, the only sons, or at least the only ones who survived infancy. there were three daughters and possibly a fourth. Jeanet Ann (Jennie) was born about 1740\1742. Susan Jean or Jane was born about 1745, and Elizabeth was probably born in that big gap between John's 1747 and William's 1756.
The fourth, if such there was, is only beginning to emerge out of the shadows at this writing, 1984. Some descendants of an early Greenbrier Valley pioneer, John JOHNSON, believe his first wife and the mother of his children was a Ewing. If so, she can only be a daughter of James. There was no other Ewings close by at the time. The first wife died young which could account for Enoch and George not being aware of her.
The possibility of his fourth daughter is being explored by family historians.
I do not know when James first occupied his land on the Jackson. If John, born in 1747, was born in North Carolina then it was after 1747, of course.
Whenever it was, the first years there were given over to building shelter and making the land productive.
But James was a hunter and trapper as well as farmer and many of his expeditions took him into the mountains that guarded the western edge of the Valley of Virginia and he liked what he saw. So did several other settlers. They formed a syndicate to apply to the Crown for a grant for "50,000 acres lying west of the Cow Pasture on Green Bryer River." The syndicate was headed by Henry DOWNS and one of the members was James EWING.
The grant was made April 4, 1749.
Apparently nothing was ever done to implement the Downs Grant, though it may have been the same one renewed under John BLAIR by order of Council on October 29, 1751. But nothing appears to have been done with the renewal either.
Anyway by then John LEWIS had obtained for the Greenbrier company the right to locate 100,000 acres on the Greenbrier River. This permission could only have been given on the theory that the Greenbrier River flowed into the Atlantic (which of course it does not). Any western-flowing waters were in Indian territory. On this grant, surveys were made in 1751, unlawfully and irregularly on the western waters. The French and Indian War breaking out prevented these surveys from progressing into grants, and in about 1763, the king issued a proclamation requiring all who had made settlement on the western waters to return to the eastern waters, and requiring all surveyors to desist from further work, on the grounds that the land belonged to the Indians.
James was one of those settlers on the western waters. About 1750 he had sold his property on the Jackson River in anticipation of a move to the mountains. A land transaction is recorded in Augusta county Deed book 12, page 286, which tells us that on October 15, 1765, John JAMISON and Mary, late of the county of Augusta, sold to Archibald ARMSTRONG for 50 pounds, 280 acres on Jackson's River, corner land in the possession of James Ewing which had been patented to John JAMISON on September 26, 1760.
(Note that James' original survey of 1745 gave the acreage as 245, but that by 1765 this had grown to 280 acres.)
And so the move was made and James and his family settled on the land, on the creek that rushed to the Greenbrier, the creek that for many years was called by his name.
James' land on Ewing's Creek was near what is today Moore's Run, a mile or so below Frost. On a map it is about 12 miles from there to his former home on the Jackson, but in the traveling it was likely twice that distance, maybe more, and uphill all the way. Back Creek Mountain, Little Mountain and the Allegheny Front itself were between James on the Jackson and his new home on Ewing's Creek. The crest of the Allegheny Front is at about 3,000 feet. This is the eastern Continental Divide. All waters on the eastern side of the crest flow to the James River and hence to the Atlantic. To the west they flow to the Ohio and then to the Mississippi.
Ewing's Creek is roughly 2,400 feet.
James and "Sarah" settled in and by the Fall of 1751 had a nice farm going.
That October they had a visitor. It was Thomas LEWIS, and he was about to start his survey for the Greenbrier Company.
Lewis began his survey right there at the Ewing cabin. The very first call of the survey is "From the bank of Ewing's Creek....." and when Lewis concluded, he was back at James' cabin again and one of the closing calls is ".....180 rods over the top of Ewing's house......"
Two of the surveys made by Lewis were for James himself. One was for 370 acres at Locust Bottoms on October 22, 1751, and the other was for 480 acres on Ewing's Creek on April 27, 1752.
By the end of 1754, Andrew and Thomas LEWIS had surveyed more than 50,000 acres in the Greenbrier Valley. Some 50 families had settled in the region by 1753 - on Anthony's, Howard's, Muddy and Ewing's Creeks, Spring Lick, in the locality known as the Sinks, and along the Greenbrier itself.
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Those families included according to historian J.T. MC ALLISTER, the families of John KEENEY, James BURNSIDES, Thomas CAMPBELL, James EWING, Samuel CARROLL, Archibald CLENDENNIN, Andrew LEWIS, George, Frederick and John SEE, Mathias and Felty YOCUM, Lemuel HOWARD, Patrick DAVIS, William RENICK and John and Robert FULTON.
Most of those located in what is today Greenbrier County, near Lewisburg, adjoining Pocahontas to the south, at least 15 or 20 miles as the crow flies from where James was.
The date of the Greenbrier Company survey, the Fall of 1751, places James in what is now Pocahontas for at least that year, possibly even 1750. Unfortunately, he has not gone down in history as the county's first settler. That honor has been accorded Jacob MARLIN and Stephen SEWELL. Historians have it that those two gentlemen spent the winter of 1750-51 at "Marlin's Bottoms" - the alluvial plain formed at the mouth of Ewing's Creek at the Greenbrier River where Pocahontas County seat arose in later years.
But can MARLIN and SEWELL really be regarded as "settlers"? They just wintered there - one of them in the base of a sycamore tree, at that, the other in a cave. No cabin, no crops, no family - and then they moved on.
James EWING built a cabin, brought his family, cleared the land, planted crops, left progeny, and died in the area that had been his home for 50 years. To my mind, he is Pocahontas County's first settler!
But it is MARLIN and SEWELL who have gone down in history, and for the former, Pocahontas' "first" settler, the town of Marlinton, Pocahontas' county seat, is named.
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The Shockley Story
A story has come down through the ages regarding James and "Sarah" and their run-in with a pair of ruffians from a band known as the SHOCKLEY GANG. I conclude that the event happened at about this time in James' life (in the early 1750s) and therefore at this place.
It seems that the Shockley Gang had been terrorizing the mountain settlers for some time - thieving, cattle rustling, etc., to the extent that a reward had been posted for any or all of them, "dead or alive".
One day James had left the cabin without his prized flintlock, the best in that part of the country, it is said. During his absence, two men stopped at the cabin and asked "Sarah" for something to eat. Not knowing who they were, she obliged, of course, that being the hospitable custom of the day.
But while they were eating, one of the men spotted James' rifle and decided he would like to have it for his own. "Sarah" protested, naturally, but had no way to enforce her protest, and the men went off with their "souvenir".
Let A.E. EWING tell it from there:
"When James returned to the cabin, he was told of what had happened. He at once suspected the men to be Shockley and one of his companions. James knew they were dangerous men, but his Scotch was up. He was ready to take a chance on his own life in the recovery of his much prized flintlock. He decided to pursue the robbers. He took his shot gun, loaded it with buckshot and started on his way.
"James had hunted "big game" before and knew every inch of the country for miles around. With hound-like precision he not only hit upon the trail, but followed it unerringly. Toward evening he came upon the bandits making camp for the night. They regarded themselves as safe from pursuit and were taking things easy. This is likely just what James depended upon when he set out alone on his hunt. He carefully re-primed his borrowed flintlock as he could not afford to have a "flash in the pan" in case he had to pull a trigger. He advanced so cautiously that his presence was unknown to the thieves until he boldly stepped up to them and demanded his rifle.
"Shockley's answer was to bring to his shoulder the very rifle he had just stolen. James was just as quick in bringing to shoulder his borrowed shotgun. Each was intent upon being the first to pull trigger. They pulled at the very same instant. Had both guns discharged, both men would have fallen dead. Fate was against Shockley. He had neglected to re-prime the stolen gun and it "flashed in the pan". He fell dead with a charge of buckshot in his breast. So close were they to each other that Shockley's neck cloth was burned by the fire from James's shotgun.
" But the fight was not yet ended. So suddenly had things taken place that Shockley's companion was not ready with his gun and James saw to it that he did not get hold of one by at once pouncing upon him. It was a hand-to-hand conflict. Down they went, each striving to get the better of the other. It was a bitter fight - first one on top, then the other. Finally James got his adversary fouled, brought his hunting knife into play upon the bandit's jugular, and that ended the fight. One mad Scotchman, prepared for the fray, had proved too much for two self-satisfied outlaws. James picked up his two flintlocks and returned to his cabin, calling it a day."
"In grandfather's version of the story it was said that James Ewing received a reward of several hundred dollars for putting an end to Shockley and his luckless companion. Years after grandfather's death, I related this story to Dr. Gilbert A. EWING, of Jackson, Ohio, a nephew of Grandfather Enoch. He had heard the same story from his father, George, but he had a different version of the "reward" part of the story. His version was that when it leaked out what James had accomplished, his friends urged him to claim the reward, but that he refused to do so, saying that he had all the reward he wanted in the recovery of his rifle and getting rid of two such "pesky varmints".
We may never know which is the correct ending of the story, but, with full confidence that grandfather Enoch told the story exactly as he remembered it from boyhood, I must admit that the George EWING version sounds decidedly Ewing-like.
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Renegades were bad enough in unsettling the lives of the settlers but in mid-1755, they had even more trouble heaped on them - Indians.
On July 9, 1755, Sir Edward BRADDOCK who had led 1,400 Redcoats and 450 Virginia militia against the French post at Fort Du Quesne, was mortally wounded and his troops humiliated by what has come to be called Braddock's Defeat.
Following that, the French and their Indian allies, particularly the Shawnees, Delawares and Mingoes, took the offensive and spread terror throughout the backcountry of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Settlements in present West Virginia bore the brunt of the attacks upon Virginia's frontiers. In late August, 1755, the alarm was sounded in the Greenbrier Valley. The settlers, 59 in number took refuge in little Fort Greenbrier, near where Marlinton is today. In charge of the fort was Lt. John MCNEIL , who historians believe was the South Branch Manor John MCNEIL, hence the father of our Thomas MCNEILL.
In four days of terror, the Indians killed 13 of those who had "forted" and 12 others who remained outside the walls, captured two girls, burned 11 houses and slaughtered or drove off about 500 cattle and horses.
On September 15, 1755, Virginia's Governor DINWIDDLE wrote to Lt. MCNEIL, "I am sorry for the deaths of 13 of our subjects at Greenbrier." On September 27, 1755 he wrote, "Am much surprised that there were 59 people in the fort at Greenbryer, yet they did not resist the attempts of the Indians, who I hear were not one fourth of your number. But probably the people in the fort were not properly furnished with arms."
It is said that the survivors of that raid, panic stricken and with little protection against the savage fury, sought safety in flight.
Well, perhaps they did, James and his family included, but I am willing to bet that as soon as things had calmed down, James and his family went back. Historians claim the Greenbrier Valley remained depopulated until the signing of the peace treaty at Fort Stanwix and the conclusion of the French and Indian War, but I wonder. It does not sound like our James. I am still of the conviction that William EWING was born on Ewing's Creek, December 24, 1876.
If the Ewings, Clendennins and the others were in the old settlements on the Jackson River at the time, then that is where Archibald CLENDENNIN JR. courted Jeanet Ann EWING . If they had returned to their homes on the frontier, well Rich Hollow is not so far from Ewing's Creek that he could not have courted there.
Archibald Sr. was the brother of Charles CLENDENNIN , whose son founded the city that became West Virginia's capitol, and for whom Charleston is named.
Archibald Sr. had 360 acres on the waters of the Greenbrier, at Rich Hollow, two miles west of today's Lewisburg, Greenbrier County seat, and about 15 miles south of where James EWING and his family were. He was one of the area's first settlers, as noted earlier.
The broad plain around Lewisburg (treeless, so called The Savannahs for a time) is called Big Levels. There is a similar but smaller plain north of there, in Pocahontas County, called Little Levels - an area that is rich in Ewing-McNeill-Hughes lore. You will come to know Little Levels well in the pages ahead.
Wherever Jeannet and Archibald Jr. were in 1757, then that is where he wooed and won her, for in 1757 or thereabouts is when they were married. They definitely were back in Greenbrier by 1761. Archibald Sr. had died in 1760 and Archibald Jr. inherited the 360 acres at Rich Hollow. In 1762 he acquired 400 acres adjoining the 360 - 400 acres that had been surveyed in the name of George SEE. That same year, 1762, Archibald was named His Majesty's constable on the Western Frontier. (1762 also marked the year that James Ewing was named captain of a company of Augusta County militia.)
A description of Archibald has come down through the years. It is said that he had been so "scarified" by past encounters with the Indians that "he looked like an old raccoon dog".
The Clendennin home was actually a little fort, built to afford a refuge for inhabitants of the settlement in case of Indian attack.
By July, 1763, there were more than 30 families living in the settlement near the Clendennins and the one over Muddy Creek Mountain at Muddy Creek. Fields of wheat and corn were providing
them with food. It seemed peaceful.
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King Pontiac’s War
The Clendennin Massacre
In the Spring of 1763 Virginia settlers sat on the edge of their frontier claims and cast nervous glances to the north. The Indians were peaceable enough since the signing of the treaty at Fort Stanwix, but these pioneers had been around long enough to know that, with the Indians, anything could happen and usually did.
That particular spring, things were indeed happening. The Algonquin chieftains had been summoned by KING PONTIAC to a secret council near Detroit, April 27, 1763. There it was agreed that certain tribes would attack all the English posts recently surrendered by the French. A certain phase of the moon in May was to be the signal for a concerted attack.
That was the beginning of Pontiac's War.
Pontiac's plan was so successfully executed that nine or Ten English posts from Western New York to Pennsylvania to Northern Michigan fell to the Algonquins practically without a struggle. Fort Pitt and Detroit alone held out, a fact that saved the American colonies. Had those strongholds fallen, Pontiac's warriors could easily have swept the country clean of the paleface from the Allegheny front to the Mississippi.
While Pontiac was engaged in besieging Fort Pitt and Detroit, it fell to the smaller interior tribes to carry out the second phase of the plot - to wipe out the trans-Allegheny settlers nearest to them.
The vast region that is now West Virginia constituted their prize game preserve. They regarded Virginia hunters as trespassers and permanent settlers as outlaws to be shot down at sight. All this was well known to the Virginians.
But in spite of it, the settlers had hopes that Indian troubles were a thing of the past. Of course they were not.
On the fateful day of July 15, 1763, Archibald CLENDENNIN's household consisted of himself, his wife Jeanet, their daughter, Jane, age 6, and a varying number of other children, depending upon what account you are reading, and Jeanet's brother, John EWING, then 15. There were other families around them, and in the nearby Muddy Creek settlement.
It was to these two settlements, and another in Rockbridge County, that CHIEF CORNSTALK had been sent by KING PONTIAC to take care of, in any way he saw fit, the paleface intruders.
CORNSTALK, or KEIGHTEQUA, his Indian name, was chief of the Shawnee tribe whose principal towns were on the Scioto River in Ohio. His band on the raid into Virginia that July consisted of about 60 warriors. Crossing the Ohio in canoes, which they sank at the mouth of the Kanawha, they proceeded overland, a distance of about 160 miles, coming first to the settlement at Muddy Creek.
What happened there and at the Big Levels has been recounted many times. There are as many versions of the massacre, the capture and Jeanet's escape as there were people slaughtered in that dreadful episode. The one that seems to me to ring truest is Anne ROYAL's.
The eminent writer visited Greenbrier County in 1824, and talked with Jeanet's daughter, Nancy Ann RODGERS, by then the wife of Joseph MAYSE. Nancy recounted the story exactly as she had heard it from her mother, and Ms. ROYAL wrote it in her "Travels in the United States", published in 1826.
That version is repeated here:
"The Indians began their work of death on Muddy Creek. They killed SEE and YOKUM and several others, captured the women and children, plundered the houses and burnt them to ashes. The next day they went to Clendennin's who had heard nothing of their hostility. When they approached the cabin they asked for something to eat, but Mrs. CLENDENNIN was suspicious of them, noticing that their paint was different from what she had ever seen on them before. She expressed her fears to her husband in a low voice, but he replied, 'No danger'.
"Clendennin employed much of his time in hunting. He killed great numbers of buffalo, deer, elk, etc. He would cut the meat from the bones and salt it away by itself. The bones Mrs. Clendennin would collect into a large kettle and boil them for present use. This was done under a shed or scaffold
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constructed near the house for that purpose, and at that time she had a quantity of bones boiling in a kettle. She therefore gave her infant to her husband and, taking a large pewter dish and flesh fork in her hand, repaired thither to bring some for the Indians, but just as she turned the corner of the house, she heard Clendennin exclaim, 'Lord have mercy on me'. She dropped the dish and fork and, turning back, saw an Indian with the scalp of her husband in his hand. He held it by the long hair and was shaking the blood from it. She rushed upon him in a fit of frenzy and requested him to kill her likewise, spitting in his face to provoke him to do so. He raised his tomahawk to kill her when her brother, John EWING, said to the Indian, 'Oh, never mind her, she is only a woman'. 'Yes,' said the Indian, 'she damn fool too'.
"They plundered the house, set fire to it and departed, taking Jennie, her three children and Ewing with them. Ewing has said since that Clendennin might have saved his life, had he not been encumbered with the child. He started to run, and was making an effort to cross a fence which separated the house from a field of corn. It being in the month of July, the corn was high enough to have concealed him, but he was killed in the act of rising the fence. He fell on one side and the child on the other.
"The Indians went back to Muddy Creek and joined another party who were guarding the prisoners captured the preceding day. As they passed the settlements of See and Yokum, Jennie discovered that they were likewise killed and their wives and children among the prisoners.
"On the following day, the Indians, except one old man, left them in camp, leaving this old man to guard them. They took John Ewing with them. They were absent three days, during which it came into Jennie's head that if the other women would assist her they might kill the old Indian and make their escape. But being narrowly watched by him she had no opportunity to mention the subject without being overheard. She in the first place asked the Indian if he understood English and he making no reply she took it for granted that he did not and consequently made her proposal to her sister’s prisoners, but they refused to aid her. Scarcely had they finished speaking when their ears were saluted with the whooping of an approaching party of Indians, a number of bells and every token of a great number, both of horses and Indians. The old Indian sprang to his feet and after listening some time attentively, exclaimed in good English, 'God damn, good news'. Jennie now expected nothing but death for plotting his destruction, but she never heard anything more of it.
"The Indians proved to be those who left them with another party, whom they went to meet, who were returning from Carr's Creek, Rockbridge County, with a number of women and children, and a vast booty disposed on horses. Every horse had a bell and every bell was open.
"Among the prisoners was the lamented Mrs. MOORE, who was afterward burnt at their towns.
"Jennie resolved, however, to affect her escape at the risk of her life. Accordingly, when they arrived at the place called Keeny's Knob, opportunity offered itself. One of the Indians was carrying her child. The Indians were all in a row, the prisoners next to them, and the horses with their bells ringing behind and one Indian behind all. When she therefore came to a very steep precipice on the side of the route, the Indians carelessly pursuing their way, she jumped down and crept under a large rock. She lay still until she heard the last bell go by. Concluding that they had not yet missed her she began to hope. Sometime after the bells were out of hearing she heard the footsteps of something approaching very heavily. It drew near the place where she was. She was leaning down on her hands and knees with her head bent forward to the ground. Thus she waited the fatal stroke. Already she felt the deadly axe on her head, in imagination, and for the first time feared death. She ventured however to raise her eyes to her foe, and behold a bear was standing over her. He gave a great snort and ran off at full speed.
"The Indians missing her some time later, laid her child on the ground, going off from it for some distance, thinking its cries would induce her to return. They would torture the child and beat it saying, 'Make the calf bawl and the cow will come'. At length they killed the child and went on without Jennie. Jennie remained under the rock till dark when she sought her way back.
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"She traveled all night and concealed herself by day. The second night she reached her desolate habitation. When she came in sight of the farm, she heard (or rather thought she did) wild beasts howling in every direction. She thought she heard voices of all sorts and saw images of all shapes moving through the cornfield. In short, these sights and sounds so intimidated her that she withdrew to a spring in the forest and remained there till morning. The effect of a disordered imagination. She then approached the place and found the body of her husband with his eyes picked out, lying where it was when the Indians left him. She threw a buffalo hide over it and vainly tried to cover it with earth. She procured a hoe for the purpose, but her strength was so much exhausted for the want of food and sleep that she found herself unequal to the task.
"She continued her route toward the settled part of the country, traveling at night only. In nine days she arrived at Dickenson's on the Cow Pasture River. During all this time she ate nothing but a little salt and onion which she found on a shelf in a spring house at one of the deserted places. She likewise found an Indian blanket, which proved a great friend to her in the end, as her clothes and skin were torn to pieces by the briers, and she made leggings out of the blanket.
"When she had gotten as far as Howard's Creek, not more than 10 miles from where Lewisburg now is, she met several white men. These men had heard that every soul was killed and were coming to drive away cattle and whatever else was left by the Indians. One of the men gave her a piece of bread and cold duck, but her stomach loathing it, she put the food in her petticoat and pursued her journey, thinking she would eat it when she felt an appetite, but unfortunately she lost it without even tasting it.
"Jennie finally arrived safe in her old neighborhood and in the course of a few years married John RODGERS , father of Mrs. MAYSE from whom I had his relation, and moved back to the place where her first husband was killed - peace being restored - and on looking around the old premises she found the dish and flesh-fork where she had dropped it on the day her husband was killed."
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Written by George P. MATTHEWS, at the dictation of Anselm T. HOLCOMB, grandson of John EWING:
"After Jennie's escape, the party continued without any further incident worth relating to the mouth of the Kanawha. Here they had sunk their birch canoes. After raising them, they crossed the Ohio River with their plunder, opposite the mouth of George's Creek in Gallia County of Ohio, and again commenced the land journey. The general course was up George's and Campaign Creeks, crossing the dividing ridge near where the village of Porter now is located, then down Barren Creek to the mouth, then down Raccoon to Adamsville.
"They then took the best route for the Salt Licks at Jackson, passing on the way near Ridgeway's and Centerville, then, of course, an unbroken wilderness.
"At the Licks they found a message from a party of marauders who had been down in Kentucky and Tennessee, and who had gone on before them. It was written after the usual manner, in hieroglyphics on the barks of trees. By this they found that the number of prisoners and scalps which they had secured far exceeded that of the Southern party, an event that gave rise to a grand display of muscle and strength of lungs in the way of a general jubilee.
"They remained at the Licks two or three weeks making salt and curing meat. This was a noted place and the Indians for hundreds of miles around assembled here to make salt and hunt the buffalo.
"About the middle of August, John arrived at Picawillina, which was to be the place of his captivity. This town was situated on the Scioto River, three miles below the present city of Circleville. Here he became the adopted son of the mother of WABAWASENA, or WHITE OTTER, the warrior who had taken him prisoner. The mother, John said, was a confirmed old scold, while the son, who was a young war chief, was highly intellectual, and one of the most upright, honorable men John ever knew.
From the version written by Rhoda EWING BRIGGS, John's granddaughter:
"One experience was to be taken to the Council House where he was chosen by an old squaw whose name was MODEQWA (Groundhog). The old chief came in and performed a ceremony. John thought he was being married to a daughter of Modegwa. The Indians cried and John could not understand why they should do that, but when they got through, they called him son and brother and then he understood that he had been adopted. His sister's name was WHITE SWAN or WHITE FAWN, she was pretty. His nephew by adoption was PLA-WAUGH (Turkey) and he was about John's age. They were together a great deal. John's Indian name was PETERCOB."
"John said he had a good time. They did not have to work, and he and Pla-waugh stole melons and cookies and sugar from the squaws. One time they were suspected of stealing melons, but John denied it. It seems that John had lost his little toe from one foot, and his track in the dirt showed the defect. The old squaw pointed first to the foot and then to the track, and shook her head, indicating that the evidence was too conclusive, and John's denial was refuted."
Back to the HOLCOMB version:
"Having a retentive memory and an observing eye, John soon became master of the Indian language and manners. During one of their predatory excursions among the white settlements of Tennessee, the Indians became possessors of two things, the nature of which they did not quite comprehend - the Bible and small-pox. The bible was delivered to THOBQUEB (Hole in the Day), the
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great council chief of the Shawnees. John represented him as a man remarkable for his sagacity in Council, his constant zeal, his active spirit, and brilliant eloquence, all heightened by the impression of his personal appearance, which his age (said to be 100) made still more striking."
"But with all his cunning the white man's book was to him a perplexing mystery. John was summoned to his wigwam to explain it. He began at the first and translated it into the Indian tongue. All seemed satisfactory to the chief until he came to man's creation, and the chief asked if that was a white man or a red man. John said he supposed a white man. Thobqueb said, ' I don't believe the Great Spirit made the poor, ignorant, cowardly white man before he did the red man!'."
"When John came to the part about Noah and the flood, he was obliged to interpret the word 'ark' by the Indian word for 'canoe'. After reading the dimensions of the 'great canoe' and the number of persons and animals put on board, the old chief exclaimed, 'Now you know that's a lie. There never was a tree big enough to make such a canoe as that!."
"When the small-pox broke out among them, their fear knew no bounds. The most skillful medicine men among them, with roots of wondrous power, were unable to stay the sweeping pestilence. It carried them off by hundreds. John's adopted mother and sister were among the victims."
"When John felt the disease fastening itself upon him, he repaired to a field of growing corn and squashes which he had on a river bank a short distance below the village. Here beside a spring of sparkling water, he cut down a large dead shell bark hickory and set it on fire. With buffalo robe and blanket for a bed and roast squashes and cold water for a diet, with neither nursing nor medicine, he passed through the ordeal in safety, with scarcely a mark to mar his features. He said he never found a better remedy for small-pox."
In his 16 months of captivity, John was employed principally in farming and hunting, but he had a great deal of leisure time. A useful object he made while in the Indian town is now in the possession of a descendant, Barbara EWING POWELL of Newman, California. It is a leather belt. Barbara sent me a "picture" of it - a Xerox copy of a 220-year-old belt.
While many tales of John's captivity have been handed down through the generations, not much is known about Jane, who was taken, some say, to the Delaware towns north of Chillicothe. John in his deposition of 1805, when he was a resident of Gallipolis Township, Gallia Co., Ohio, stated: "We were in the
same nation, but not together. I never saw her but once......."
As for Jeanet's young son (said to have been named John), who was also taken captive, Royal had this to say:
"When Jeanet's brother John returned to civilization, he informed her that an old Indian and woman who had lost all their children, adopted her little son and were very fond of him, the child likewise being found of them. But one day, the old man being displeased with his wife on some account, told the child, whom she was sending for water, not to go. If he did, he would kill him. The child stood still, not knowing what to do. At length the old man went out to the field and the child, glad of an opportunity to please his mother, picked up the vessel and set off for the spring. But the old man seeing him from where he was, walked up behind him and knocked out his brains. He related the circumstances himself and would add, 'I was obliged to approach him from behind that I might not see his face, for if I had, I could never have had the courage to kill him'."
(Another version says the child was killed in a squabble between two squaws. Actually, Jane, during the court case over her property in 1805, said that her father was killed in the massacre "and with him all his children", which could be construed to belie the above incident and the one involving the crying infant on the trail.)
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John and Jane’s Release
The situation that had developed with the onset of Pontiac's War called for speedy action on the part of the British government, and in August, 1763, just a month after John and Jane's captivity, Col. Henri BOQUET, a Frenchman of daring and courage in British service, who was then in command at Philadelphia, was ordered to Fort Pitt to relieve the besieged army there and to take charge of an onslaught into Ohio.
On his march to Pittsburgh in August, BOQUET and his forces ran into some Indians at Bushy Run. A battle ensued and, after two days of hard fighting, BOQUET came off the victor. The redskins retreated westward.
BOQUET arrived at Fort Pitt on August 10, 1763, and was most heartily welcomed to the beleaguered garrison. It was his plan to spend the winter at Fort Pitt amassing an army large enough to crush all opposition and with it march into the very heart of the enemy country in the spring of 1764.
There were difficulties and the expedition of 2,000 men was not able to set out until October 3, 1764. Ten days later they reached the Tuscarawas River in Ohio, near the present location of Sandville. Up to this time no traces of Indians had been seen.
Apparently Bushy Run and the presence of the army in Ohio had done the trick, for on Sunday, October 15, two messengers arrived to tell Boquet that the chiefs of the Delawares and other tribes occupying the valley wanted to treaty with him for peace.
And thus a bloodless victory came about. Boquet agreed to peace, but only on the condition that within a space of 12 days the Indians should turn over to him all the white prisoners they held - men, women and children - and should also furnish clothing, provisions and horses sufficient to last his army on its return march to Fort Pitt.
Within a space of two weeks the Indians delivered to Colonel BOQUET at Coshocton, Ohio, 206 white captives, leaving about 1100 more in the Shawnee towns on the Scioto. On November 18, 1764, Boquet and his army and the freed captives started on their return march to Fort Pitt, taking with them hostages to insure the surrender of the remaining prisoners at Fort Pitt the following spring.
In May 1765, the great part of the remaining prisoners, 44 in number, were brought to Fort Pitt by the Shawnees and delivered into the hands of George CROGHAN.
John and Jane were in the latter group. they were, according to John's deposition of 1805, released from Fort Pitt on May 14, 1765.
Tradition has it that John was in the first group given over to Boquet, but when he saw that Jane was not among the 206, he said he would go back to the Shawnee towns and go with her to Fort Pitt in the spring.
When the Indians saw him return, they had a great laugh over it, saying "Ha, ha, you must be redman because the white man no have you."
Rhoda EWING BRIGGS: "When John got ready to leave the Indians, he hunted up his niece to take back with him. When he found her, she was sitting on a pile of skins on a pack horse returning from a hunt. She was about as broad as long, fat and hearty and bareheaded, she was tanned and her hair was combed Indian fashion.
"In later years, after having some trouble over her property, she said that while she was thankful to her uncle for bringing her back to her people she almost wished he had left her with the Indians, and she would never have known the difference."
Lists of the names of only a few of the prisoners have been preserved. John and Jane's names are not on the lists . but from the lists we learn of others who were taken captive in the same raid as John and Jane - Elizabeth YOAKIM, 12; Margaret Yokeham; three SEES - Michael, George and Mary (three other Sees known to have been taken were not on the list); Elizabeth CONUSMAN(?) ("Her mother was given up at camp No. 16") and Mary WILLIAMS, an old woman, and her son, David, 4. Prisoners taken the following day, when CORNSTALK swung over into Rockbridge, to Kerr's Creek, were Mary HAMILTON, 15; Miriam, her sister, 10, and Jane GILMORE, a woman.
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According to Levi HOWELL in 1929:
"It seems that the British government had provided wagons for the women folks but the young men could walk. Great-grandfather started on foot to return to the old settlement about 200 miles. When he got about three miles from the fort he was arrested as a deserter from the army at Pittsburgh. John had a pass from the authorities at Pittsburgh but the man who arrested him could not read. So he started back with this man and when he got half way back they met a wagoner. John hailed the wagoner to know if he could read writing. The wagoner read the pass and threatened to whip the man with his wagon whip for arresting a person with a pass. He did not whip the man but gave him a good lecture.
"The wagoner was going back to the old settlement and invited John to ride with him because of his misfortune of being wrongfully arrested. He rode back all the way with the wagoner.
"John had faithfully promised his Indian mother before he left for civilization that he would come and see her again some other time. She cried and said she was afraid he would never see her again. This woman adopted John because she had no son. She had daughters and probably lost a son in war. This Indian mother was proud of John's achievements as a hunter." (This contradicts another version that his Indian mother died of small-pox)
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Jeanet’s Second Marriage and Family
CORNSTALK's raids on the Greenbrier and Rockbridge settlements had accomplished their purpose. They had sent the remaining settlers fleeing. It is said that once again the advance frontier was devoid of population and remained so until 1769.
If James and his family also fled back to the Old Settlement, back to the Jackson River, then that is where the big homecoming was. By then John was 17, having passed his 16th birthday in captivity, and his 17th freed, but still with the Indians. Jane was 8 at the time of her reunion with her mother and grandparents.
In 1765 James' household consisted of himself, "Sarah," William, 9, the two (or three) daughters, Elizabeth, Susan Jane and the third - who could very well have been a Sarah also. And without a doubt, the widow Jeanet Ann EWING CLENDENNIN.
In August, 1765, Jeanet was named administratrix of Archibald's estate and in 1767 was declared heir to his property near Lewisburg. That same year she was married to John RODGERS and they had at least two children by the time they moved back to Rich Hollow in 1772 - Nancy Ann, born 1768, and Archibald, born July 25, 1770, and perhaps also their third and last child, James, birth date unknown.
In the meantime James EWING and family had moved back to the waters of the Greenbrier, and so apparently had enough other settlers to make the Crown think it ought to have a new county.
In 1769 surveyors took a large chunk out of southern Augusta, and Botetourt County was born. It included all of what are now Monroe and Greenbrier counties and the southern portion of Pocahontas. The dividing line in Pocahontas was Swago Creek. South of that, settlers were in Botetourt; north, they were still in Augusta. James home was, for the moment at least, in the latter jurisdiction. Botetourt's county seat was and still is, Fincastle.
At some time after their marriage and prior to moving back, John RODGERS rode over from the Jackson area to look at his wife's inheritance. He asked John EWING to meet him there to show it to him, which John did. At least that is what one gathers from John's 1805 deposition wherein he said he was the first to show RODGERS the SEE land that Archibald had purchased adjoining the CLENDENNIN land, the SEE land being that which later caused the dispute, the suit and John's deposition.
The suit was brought by Jane CLENDENNIN DAVIS in July, 1803, at Staunton, Augusta County. In 1774, Jane then 16, was married to John DAVIS (against her mother's wishes) and by him had six daughters, no sons. He died prior to March 18, 1800, when his will was entered for probate. After his death, Jane sued for the recovery of what she called her land by right of inheritance from
her father. She claimed her late husband had sold the land to her stepfather, John RODGERS, in return for a favor, prevailing upon Jane's mother to allow their marriage, and at a price much less than what it was worth. Rodgers had divided the land between his and Jeanet's two sons, Archibald and James.
Jane's stepfather and her two half-brothers, Archibald and James RODGERS, were the defendants. I have not seen the results of the suit, but apparently Jane won her case, for the property eventually fell to her eldest daughter, Mary Grey DAVIS, who in the meantime had married Ballard SMITH. The land was in the Smith family for generations.
The very existence of the suit provided us with much genealogical information. Because John EWING had been a witness to some of the transactions involving the land in dispute, he was called on to give testimony. On February 14, 1805, Thomas ARBUCKLE (who the year previous had married Jane's daughter, Jean, Jane or Jennie DAVIS) and James RODGERS, one of the defendants, traveled to Gallipolis to take John's deposition, ARBUCKLE as agent for the Plaintiff, his mother-in-law.
The bill (O.S. 56; N.S. 19) and John's Deposition are reproduced in their entirety in the addenda of this book. I must call attention to a couple of discrepancies between the real thing and the way it came out in Judge Lyman CHALKLEY's abstract. In the Judge's version (Vol II, P. 93) it says, "Archibald's widow, Ann married John RODGERS." 'Ann' is CHALKLEY's addition, it is not in the original.
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Also he says, "Jane was married after Archibald's mother." The original says she was named after his mother.
There was another suit in which Jane CLENDENNIN DAVIS was involved (about 1806: William DOUGLASS VS DAVIS - O.S. 232; N.S. 82) but Chalkley gives no indication of what that suit was about and I have not seen the original. And there was still another, this one brought by Jane's 22 year old "infant" daughter, Elizabeth DAVIS, by her guardian, Linah MIMMS, of which I likewise have not complete details.
It is rampant in Greenbrier County that Jeanet Ann EWING CLENDENNIN RODGERS was not a Ewing at all but a MCSWAIN, that her father died when she was an infant and that James EWING married the widow. How do such things get started? Sadly, it was picked up and accepted as gospel by the very eminent Greenbrier County historian, the late Dr. Harry Edwin HANDLEY of Lewisburg, one of Jeanet's descendants. (He held to her name as Nancy.)
But I have seen nothing documentary to back it up. It is a firm belief in the family of John and William EWING that she was nothing but a full sister to the two brothers - also apparently in her own family, at least according to the way her daughter Nancy Ann RODGERS MAYSE told it to Ann ROYAL.
There are two markers in Greenbrier County commemorating Cornstalk's raid in 1763.
"Muddy Creek Massacre.....Under the Guise of Friendliness, CHIEF CORNSTALK and Sixty Warriors Destroyed this settlement in 1763. Frederick SEA, Joseph CARROL, Felty YOLKUM and Others were Victims. Women and Children were Taken Prisoners to Indian Towns in Ohio. Here stood Fort Arbuckle, Built in 1774."
"Near this marker occurred the massacre of Archibald CLENDENNIN and other settlers in 1763 by the Shawnee Indians, led by Cornstalk. His wife escaped to the Jackson River settlement; later married John RODGERS of whom Will ROGERS, the humorist, is a descendant."
In the matter of that last I have not seen the chart showing how the family arrived at the fort, but I have done some research of my own. In dedicating the above marker in June 1938, M.C. BRACKMAN said that Will's ancestor was Archibald RODGERS of Hartland, whose family intermarried with the MC CLUNGS to produce Will. There is no way Will can be a descendant of Archibald.
Will's ancestry has been proven as follows:
ROGERS SR. Robert: said to have been the son of a British officer. Settled in Georgia, became a member of the Cherokee nation. Married Betty CORDRAY, daughter of an Irishman and a full-blooded Cherokee. To Arkansas then Oklahoma about 1835.
ROGERS JR. Robert: married Sallie VANN , daughter of a wel-known Cherokee family in Oklahoma.
ROGERS, Clement Vann: born 1839, Indian Territory, Oklahoma. ROGERS, William Penn Adair: (Our Will Rogers) born November 4, 1879, Oolagah, Indian Territory, Oklahoma.
In order to have produced Clement Vann by 1839, his grandfather, Robert Sr., would have to have been born by at least 1799, and that's stretching it, just 20 years between each father and son. (Actually, being the son of a British officer makes it sound very pre-Revolutionary.) Archibald RODGERS was born July 25, 1770. His two eldest sons, John and Archilles who settled at Rich Hollow, could not possibly have been born prior to 1790 and 1792. How could either of them produced Robert Sr. (who was never anywhere near Rich Hollow anyway) about 1799?
It sounds like wishful thinking on the part of someone. But it would be nice to include so illustrious a person as Will ROGERS as a Ewing.
Jeanet died in 1817, age 75, and is buried in the Welch Graveyard on the Ballard SMITH farm on Zicafoose Road near Lewisburg. John, her husband, is buried in the Rodgers Graveyard at Hartland Farms, Archibald's estate.
In 1963, the land where the Clendennin Massacre occurred was a dairy farm called Shawnee Farms, belonging to E.M. JOHNSON .
I have not followed this line, but will make note here of those descendants who have come to hand.
Jane CLENDENNIN and her husband, John DAVIS, had six daughters:
1. Mary E. DAVIS was married on December 20, 1808, to Ballard SMITH. A large part of the estate left by Archibald CLENDENNIN came into Mary's possession, and the SMITHS lived on the CLENDENNIN farm. Ballard died there in 1870. Their children were:
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i. Dr. Granville SMITH who married Elizabeth DOUGLASS of Connecticut.
ii. Preston SMITH who practiced law in Greenbrier County and was worth about $35,000 at the beginning of the Civil War. (a good deal of it in slaves who were freed during the conflict) Preston married Mary L. BARRETT.
iii. Davis C. SMITH married Rev. George C. BROCK.
iv. Sallie A. SMITH married SAMUELS of Shenandoah County.
v. Melcina SMITH married James JONES of Greenbrier.
vi. Mary A. SMITH married Albert G. UPDYKE, a merchant of Giles Co., Virginia.
a. Mary Grey UPDYKE (1855-1939) who married a SUITER
(1). A. W. SUITER (son) who lived in Wytheville, Virginia
vii. Ballard SMITH JR., born - 3 March 1822. Married: 1st - Margaret G. CORRELL; married 2nd Martha C. CORRELL (Margaret's sister)
In 1884 Ballard was living in the house built on the site of the one built by the Clendennins and claimed to have a cupboard that was in the house at the time of the massacre, but if the house were destroyed by fire by the Indians, no wooden cupboard could have survived.
2. Sally DAVIS, nothing more known
3. Jean, Jane or Jennie DAVIS, married in 1804 Thomas ARBUCKLE, (1780-1838) son of Captain Matthew ARBUCKLE. Went to Kentucky. (found in the 1820 Index in Christian County, likewise 1830: Alexander W. ARBUCKLE in Christian.)
4. Rebecca DAVIS, nothing more known
5. Nancy DAVIS married Donel FEAR
6. Elizabeth (Betsey) DAVIS born May 1783
Jeanet's daughter by RODGERS, Nancy Ann, was born in 1768. Nancy Ann married John Joseph MAYSE SR., whose will was dated May 1827, naming daughters: Florence, Jane, Eliza, Emmeline and Amanda and sons Charles and John Joseph Jr. John Joseph Jr.'s will was dated August 1836 and he named all his sisters and his brother.
Jeanet's son, Archibald RODGERS, was born 25 July 1770 and to him fell Jennie's property (now called Hartland Farms) when she died. His will is dated 28 December 1846. In it he named sons John, Achilles, Charles and James and daughters Jane MC MAHAN and Nancy TUCKWILLER - whose husband was probably either Daniel or John, sons of John TUCKWILLER the pioneer.
The fourth and last of Jennie's children was James RODGERS. He is said to have gone to McMinnville, Tennessee where he died, but I think that should probably be McMinn County, Tennessee.
McMinnville is in Warren County, and I found no Rodgers or others of the family there in the 1830 census. But in McMinn county, which is on the Tennessee River, I found on Page 171 Achilles ROGERS (211001-010001) and William R. DOUGLASS (100001-01001). On Page 199, there was Jane MC MAHAN (101000-003001) and on Page 186, William ROGERS (10001-11001).
James Ewing's daughter Elizabeth EWING was, according to Gilbert EWING, married to George DAUGHERTY The record of the marriage has not come to light, either in Augusta or Bath Counties. The Daugherty's were early neighbors of the Ewings on Jackson and later over in Greenbrier River county. There is a chapter on one branch of the family in Price's Pocahontas History. George, or at least a George Daugherty, was in Greenbrier country as late as 1786 when his name appears on a tax list. Gilbert EWING disposes of Elizabeth and her husband by saying, "Went to Kentucky, became wealthy."
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An important name in Pocahontas County annals is that of Moses MOORE .
From the Moses MOORE who is generally regarded in Pocahontas County as the pioneer, it seems that just about everybody in the entire county today must descend. He was the father of 12 children, most of whom were extremely prolific and most of whom remained in Pocahontas to help populate it. The 12 started coming in 1762 and did not stop until 1784.
But what most people do not realize is that Moses was not the pioneer. His father of the same name was. Moses Jr., born about 1740, was only about 12 when his father, a contemporary of James EWING, first appeared in what is today Pocahontas County (from Timber Ridge, Rockbridge County, Virginia, we are told).
In April, 1752, the surveyors were working near Ewing's Creek. On April 9 they began to survey a total of 820 acres for John BROWN, Brown Mountain and Brown Creek. On April 27,they were on Ewing's Creek when they found the bounds of James Ewing's 480 acres. And on the following day, April 28, they surveyed 210 acres for Moses MOORE , between Mill Run and Morris Run and 450 acres for a William MOORE - possibly a brother.
It appears the elder Moses died in the summer of 1758, for on August 16 of that year, Thomas MINK gave bond as administrator of his estate. And on November 17 of 1758, the appraisers of that estate filed their report.
Moses MOORE JR. was 18 at the time, and in fact that very year had been taken prisoner by the Indians, to have experiences in captivity much the same as Indian John EWING. Apparently he had no brothers, and when he returned to Ewing's Creek he took over the property of his father next to James EWING.
On November 18, 1761, 21 year old Moses Jr. obtained a license at Staunton, Augusta County seat, the county in which he lived, to marry Hannah RISK, daughter of John RISK. The couple had three children - John, James and Margaret. The last was born 29 March 1765, and, not long after, Hannah died. (Margaret named her first child for the mother she had never known, and Moses named his next daughter for his deceased wife.)
About 1767 or 1768, Moses married again, his second wife being Mary ELLIOTT, daughter of James ELLIOTT. Nine more little Moores quickly filled up the cabin on Ewing's Creek: Moses III, Hannah, Robert, Phoebe, Jane, Rebecca, Isaac, Aaron and William.
(Nobody was ever able to come up with the Elliott wife's first name and everyone just called her "Miss Elliott". but it is quite plain in Robert's death record in Pocahontas County of the 27 May 1858. His parents are given as Moses and Mary MOORE.)
The last child, William was born 18 September 1784, and within a short time Mary died.
Here is poor Moses, about 45, with 12 children ranging in age from 23 years to infancy. Of them apparently only Margaret was married by then.
In desperation he turned to the spinster daughter of his neighbor James EWING, and he and Jane or Susan Jane were married 11 April 1786, by the Reverend SHANNON.
(Except in one instance there has never been any indication that Moses ever lived anywhere but on Ewing's Creek. He extended his holdings there considerably through the years, adding to the original 210 acres with seven other grants, most by right of settlement between 1784 and 1790. At the end of that time, his holdings amounted to 1,654 acres.
According to what one learns from other descendants, that is where Moses lived and died and where his 12 children were born and raised, where many of them remained ("on the old home place") through succeeding generations and where many live even today.
Never a hint or suggestion that he ever lived anywhere near Swago Creek.
Except when the information comes from one certain grandson, Jonathan Griffey MCNEILL.
Jonathan Griffey (J.G.) MCNEILL (1821-1909) insisted that his grandmother, Phoebe MOORE MCNEILL (1774-1867), daughter of Moses and wife of Jonathan MCNEILL (son of Thomas) told him she was born in the house Moses built "about 300 yards distant (from Swago Bill's first cabin in Sugar Hollow) in the uplands on the bottom of
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Black Lick," that she lived there at the time of the Indian raid (1786) when the two Bridgers were killed, that she was 12 then and the family forted to Mill Point and they heard the shots that killed the two young men, that Phoebe showed him (J.G.) the spot where she was born and that he had been past the ruins of the old place many times.
(The above is from a letter to A.E. EWING from J.G. MCNEILL, it was also mentioned in Price's 1901 history, but again the information came from J.G.)
If Phoebe was born where she told J.G. she was, in February, 1774, that means Moses was on Swago Creek even before Swago Bill EWING. There is no other tradition or documentation to support that the Moores were on Swago Creek at the time of the 1786 raid (now called the Drinnen Raid), or really at any time in history.
I mention all this only to place Moses and James EWING in 1786, at the time of Moses' marriage to his neighbor, Jane/Susan Jane EWING. If Moses was on Swago Creek, then so was James, hence Jane/Susan Jane, and Moses only had to go 300 yards to claim his bride.
If Moses was back up in the mountains on Ewing's Creek, then so was James, which means he did not join William's household until after 1786.
I am incline toward the latter alternative.
Actually, mentioning the marriage at all is academic. Sadly, it did not last, or at least that is the way Gilbert got it from his father, George. Gilbert wrote A.E., "Susan married Moses MOORE, a relative of old Aunt Jane MCNEILL from whom she soon parted." (Moses was old Aunt Jane's father.) Nothing more is known of Jane/Susan Jane.
Two of Moses' daughters married into the Thomas MCNEILL family. The above Aunt Jane married Enoch MCNEILL and they moved to Gallia County, Ohio. Phoebe married Jonathan MCNEILL, the only one of Thomas' children to remain in Pocahontas, and there were other marriages between the two families down the line. Thus all the McNeills (of that and many other names) in Pocahontas today are descended from the "pioneer" Moses Moore.
There was a land transaction between young Moses and his neighbor James EWING that has gone down in history. About 1769, Moses began eyeing some of James' property adjoining his own. He approached James with a deal, and James accepted. The consideration was two steel traps and 2 pounds sterling. I do not know how much land was involved. It could have been the 44 acres Moses had surveyed on 19 April 1769.
But of course he did not get a deed. James did not have a deed to the land himself. It was all an understanding between friends, and got around to being official after the new country was formed.
The above was in a column written by the great Pocahontas County historian and Pocahontas Times editor Calvin PRICE in 1936. Shortly after the item appeared a MOORE turned one of the traps, a bear trap, over to County Agent WILLEY, saying it had been in the family for four generations. The donor was Honorable Isaac Brown MOORE, son of Moses, son of Isaac, son of Moses Jr. Isaac lived on the "home place". That year the trap was part of the pioneer exhibit at the county fair at Marlinton and, as I understand it, has been every year since.
(What I do not understand is - if the trap was traded to James, how did it get back into the possession of the Moores?)
A descendant of Moses (through Phoebe and Jonathan MCNEILL) went into DAR under Moses' so-called service at the Battle of Point Pleasant, but nothing has ever come to light to show that our Moses MOORE of Ewing's Creek was in that action of 1774. By that time our Moses was about 34, quite married, and the father of seven children!
The paper that the descendant, Ida CLAMMER, received from the State Library showing service for a Moses MOORE (along with the papers for service of a Thomas MCNEILL) she sent to A.E. EWING and I have them.
This Moses MOORE enlisted under Captain Robert DOACK. Captain DOACK recruited his men from the area in which he and they lived - the Clinch and Holstein Rivers area, in the very bottom of the toe of Virginia's "boot" - some 120 miles - as the crow flies - from Marlinton.
This company was raised in June of 1774, not September, and not for duty at Point Pleasant but for defending the frontier, and the fact of the matter is, even though his name is on the official Point Pleasant roster, Captain DOACK died during the summer of 1774, so could hardly have had a part in the Battle of Point Pleasant.
(DOACK'S company and several others were erroneously listed in "Documentary History of Dunmore's War" from the Draper Manuscripts, 1905, as participants in the battle. State historian Virgil A. LEWIS corrects this in his narrative "History of the Battle of Point Pleasant" 1909.)
Moses' will was made 9 June 1812, and was proved in September of that year. In future years a stone and plaque were set in place near his home on Ewing's ( by then Knapp's) Creek to his memory by his descendants.
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John’s Marriage and William Tomahawks
In 1774 two things of great importance happened in Ewing history. John, who had remained a bachelor for all his 26 years, took a bride. And William, at 17, staked out a claim.
About 1770, the family of John SMITH arrived on the frontier, and settled near the Ewings. Among the children was a son, John Jr., about whom a sketch appears in the 1901 Pocahontas County history, and a 16 year old daughter, Ann. Ann, it is noted in Indian John's little record book, was born "August,1754, in the Kingdom of Ireland."
Ann SMITH and John EWING were married (again according to John's little book) on 22 April 1774. John had purchased 195 acres on Stony Creek, a few miles west and north of where Marlinton is today, from Isaac JONES and before the marriage had prepared a home for his bride. In the next 22 years, 10 children came into the snug cabin on Stony Creek.
1774 marked the year that William set out to tomahawk himself 745 acres on Swago Creek.
To the pioneers, tomahawking a claim was the same as putting a fence around it. A man just determined what land he wanted and then walked around the limits of it chopping niches in trees to mark it his, and his it was:
"The best land title in West Virginia" said Pocahontas Times Editor Calvin PRICE, "is 10 years under fence and never to have been asked to leave. Possession is not only nine points of the law, but all 10 in West Virginia."
And thus it might have remained for William, a tomahawk claim forever, except that eventually , after the new country was formed, authorities got around to adjusting all the patchwork claims and putting them on paper.
When William's land was officially surveyed, 19 June 1892, by William POAGE, SBC, (Surveyor, Bath County) he was found to have 745 acres. The calls were as follows:
Beginning at two sugar trees,
South 85 degrees East 120 poles to two sugar trees
North 9 degrees West 18 poles to a black oak and sugar trees
South 47 degrees East 90 poles to a birch and white oak
East 94 poles to a chestnut and sugar tree
South 75 degrees East 60 poles to two sugar trees
South 55 degrees East 130 poles to some locusts and white oak bushes
North 25 degrees East 76 poles to a white oak and cherry tree
North 28 degrees West 50 poles to a black oak and white oak
North 10 degrees West 81 poles to a white oak and maple
North 45 degrees West 14 poles to three maples
North 5 degrees West 78 poles to a white oak and sugar tree
North 10 degrees West 60 poles to a black oak and sugar tree
North 60 degree West 80 poles to a beech and sugar tree
North 45 degrees West 40 poles to a Spanish oak and linn
North 72 degrees West 40 poles to three sugar trees
South 87 degrees West 60 poles to an ash, cherry and sugar tree
South 65 degrees West 40 poles to two cherry trees and hickory
South 16 degrees West 356 poles to the beginning.
At a later date, about 1820 as near as I can figure out, someone else recorded the bounds of the Ewing land as follows:
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"Start at the plank fence at Rodgers line, with said fence westward across the mountain field by the south end of Jones' meadow line on Black Lick Run, thence up the south side of Chestnut Ridge by the Hefner Improvement to Hannah MCNEILL's corner on top of ridge, with her line to Hefners corner on Peter Cove Ridge, with his line to M.G. MCNEAL'S lot; with his and J.E. ADKISSON'S line to the hollow leading down by G.W. MCKEEVER'S to and across the creek to the gate above G.W. OVERHOLT'S, with said OVERHOLT'S line in the direction of the cove at the head of the creek passing the corner of the mill property and with said property line to the hollow where WILFORDS cut the timber and firewood, thence turning in a southeast direction across Black Lick Run to a corner thence a little east to a corner of Squire RIDGERS land and with his line to the beginning."
When the POAGE survey is drawn to the scale of a modern topographic map and placed on the map in its proper place at Swago Creek, it's very easy to "see" William's property. When he tomahawked the claim, William "aimed to take in all the headwaters of Swago Creek," as G. Douglas MCNEILL put it. There are two caves on the property, which caves produced nitre for ammunition.
According to MCNEILL, William's first cabin was near the foot of Swago Creek, in the mouth of Sugar Hollow. After marriage and as his family increased he built a second one, larger and with two stories, about a mile away.
"The land" said McNeill, "was some nice farm land, also considerable rough hilly land, inter-spread with limestone cliffs and scattering rocks of other kinds, but it is a fine grass concern."
The grant to William's 745 acres is dated 1 January 1795, and is signed by Robert BROOKE , Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, at Richmond, in the 19th year of the commonwealth.
In regard to the frontiersman's practice of tomahawking a claim, there is a tale that has passed down through the ages. In the telling of it, Enoch EWING referred to "Allack Waddle". Turns out the man was Alexander WADDELL, prominent in Pocahontas County history and later in Gallia County, Ohio, where he is
buried. (But then, Enoch EWING always referred to his father's place as being on "Swagger Crick" and it was years before A.E. EWING discovered the name was really Swago Creek.
It seems that Alexander WADDELL went to the woods with his axe to lay out his site, but before beginning his line, he laid his axe by a tree and started out on a prospecting trip, to see where the best land lay, with a view to enclosing it. While thus engaged, William happened along and found the axe and suspected its mission. As a joke, he too the axe, and began to blaze a line around the best of the land. When Waddell returned, he was much dismayed to think he had lost the land he wanted so much. William only carried the joke far enough to plague his neighbor and then gave up both the axe and the line he had started, and Alex completed it and took in a good-sized plantation.
William occupied his land the same year he located it and was living on it when Lord DUNMORE'S War broke out. William had to have been south of Swago Creek at the time of Dunmore's War, because he went out with the Botetourt men. If he would have still been on Ewing's Creek, he would have gone with the Augusta troops.
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William in the Battle of Point Pleasant
Most of William EWING's descendants are aware of his participation in the Battle of Point Pleasant on 10 October 1774. This battle is generally regarded as the first battle of the Revolution (it preceded Lexington and Concord by six months). True, it was fought under the British flag, but strictly by American patriots, and it emphatically aided the American cause because it had such a quieting effect on the Ohio Indians that it was two years before they were able to make any organized disturbance.
And the whole thing, all of Lord DUNMORE's War, is believed to have been precipitated by the English for the very purpose of distracting the colonies thoughts away from independence.
For events leading up to the battle I quote from an article which appeared in the Grand Rapid, Michigan Press on the 145th anniversary of the battle, 10 October 1919, written by A.E. EWING.
"In 1774 Michigan was Detroit, Mackinac and a few other military posts under the British flag, unknown as a political organization, but claimed by Virginia, then under the royal governorship of Lord Dunmore. The crest of civilization, like an Atlantic tidal wave, had topped the Appalachian ranges, and thousands of Scotch-Irish riflemen, planting their cabins on tomahawk claims on the western slope of the Allegheny Front, were already challenging both wild beast and savage for the supremacy of the Ohio and Great Lakes region.
"The valleys of the Ohio and her tributaries north were inhabited by the war-trained Miamis, Ottawas, Shawnees, Delawares, Wyandots and Mingoes, remnants and successors of tribes pressed back from the seaboard, nursing their grievances in sullen vengefulness. Many of them had been schooled in the Pontiac wars, and their natural and nearest enemies were the Virginia gunmen and farm seekers whom they regarded as poachers upon their game preserves. The New York Indians had signed for peace back in 1753, but the Ohio Indians repudiated the act of their eastern brethren in giving up the rich hunting grounds on the Virginia side of the Ohio River and still claimed them. The Virginians, on the other hand, looked with wistful eye upon the beautiful lands across the Ohio.
"The Indians, noting the defiant spirit of the colonists against England, grew bolder and a general uprising was imminent. The frontiersmen appealed to the royal governor. Lord Dunmore, cognizant of his waning power, desirous of holding the confidence of his subjects, and more than anxious to turn the Virginia mind to thoughts of danger and self-defense and away from thoughts of independence, declared war on the Indians, and organized two forces of Virginia militia.
"The southern wing of men was called into the field by Colonel Andrew LEWIS, a friend of Colonel George WASHINGTON. This army was composed of mountain men, a dozen companies in all, captained by veterans. The plan was for this southern wing to march up the Great Kanawha to the Ohio, and there await the juncture with the northern wing under command of Lord Dunmore, who was to strike the Ohio at Wheeling and float down the river till the two armies met; then they would cross the Ohio and march directly into Indian country."
Among the veteran captains who were ordered to recruit men from their areas was Captain John STUART. Stuart has been called one of the most remarkable men in frontier history. He was born in Augusta County in 1749 and came over the mountains in 1769 to find a home and settled in the "Rich Lands" of what became Greenbrier County. He eventually rose to the rank of colonel and was engaged in the Indian wars until their close in 1795. He thereafter distinguished himself in many ways, the most widely known of these being his writing of "Memoir of Indian Wars and Other Occurrences," the only authentic and authoritative history of early Greenbrier country, from which he has come to be known as the official Greenbrier Valley historian.
He and Indian John EWING were almost contemporaries – Stuart 1749 to 1823 and Ewing 1747 to 1824.
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It was Stuart who enlisted the men of the Little Levels in Botetourt County. Many people have thought that the other William EWING in the Botetourt regiment - a sergeant-major in Captain Phillip LOVE'S Company - was our William, but such is not the case. Captain Love of Wythe, Virginia recruited strictly from his own area. The Big and Little Levels in Greenbrier River country were Stuart's.
Other familiar names in Stuart's company from the Little Levels were John MCNEEL, George and William CLENDENNIN and Charles KINNESON There were 37 in the company all told.
Unfortunately the rosters of the Augusta companies (where Stony and Ewing's Creek were) have not been preserved, but Editor William PRICE in his Pocahontas Times of 19 October 1939, said he believed that the men of that area went out under Captain George MOFFETT. Some of them were the WARWICKS, the CAMERONS, the SITLINGTONS, the WOODDALS, the POAGES, the WAUGHS, the SLAVENS, William SHARP, the DRENNANS, the BRIDGERS and the ARBOGASTS. All of those names are familiar to a student of Pocahontas County history, and many of them appear in this book.
PRICE may not be correct about their captain being MOFFETT, for William SHARP in his pension papers years later said he had gone out under Captain Andrew LOCKRIDGE.
William was only 17 when the call to arms came in August of 1774. There may have been other inducements offered to make enlistment a glowing thing, such as promise of a grant of land, but the main thing among these incensed frontiersmen was the prospect of a march into enemy territory, having at the scoundrels who were making life so miserable, and being done with them once and for all.
Camp Union, which was located near the Clendennin Massacre site at Lewisburg on the Big Levels, was designated the rendezvous point and all were to be these in readiness to march to the Ohio on the 30th of August. Colonel William FLEMING, leader of the Botetourt regiment, arrived there on the 29th and took command of his troops.
History of the Battle of Point Pleasant, Virgil A. LEWIS, 1909:
"This army at Camp Union was the most remarkable body of men that had ever assembled on the American Frontier. Of the men comprising it, some had been with WASHINGTON at the surrender of Fort Necessity, some had been with BRADDOCK at the fatal field of Monongahela, others with FORBES at the capture of Fort DuQuessne, and still others with BOQUET in the Ohio wilderness, and all, or nearly all, had been engaged all their lives in the border wars. Hence the men collected at Camp Union were not only schooled in both the English and Colonial military systems, but were familiar with the methods of Indian warfare as well. Every man knew his duty and the importance of the undertaking in which he was engaged.
"As Teddy Roosevelt said in his 'Winning of the West', 'It may be doubted if a braver or physically finer set of men will ever get together on this continent."
"This was not a uniformed army. Though some officers wore the regular military uniform, most were in the distinctive dress of the borderer...hunting shirt, leather leggings, breeches of domestic make, and caps made from the skins of wild animals or knit from wool. Each carried the long flintlock rifle, or English musket, with bullet pouches and quaintly carved powder-horns, with tomahawk and butcher knives. They had been Border Rangers of past years, but now an offensive warfare was theirs."
The first contingent to leave Camp Union was the Augusta regiment under Colonel Charles LEWIS on September 6. The Virgil LEWIS history of the battle says that Captain STUART's company of Botetourt men (which would have included William) rode with him, but the original manuscripts say it was Captain ARBUCKLE and his men who rode out that Tuesday, so it must be assumed that historian LEWIS erred and that STUART actually remained at Camp Union until the 12th, to ride out with his own Botetourt regiment, under Colonel FLEMING.
When Fleming did depart, "General" LEWIS rode with them. The "General" is in quotes because Lewis was actually still a colonel, but serving in this campaign as a brigadier general, and as he was a general in the ensuing Revolutionary War, and because there was another Colonel LEWIS (Charles, his brother) he is called general during the Point Pleasant campaign by most historians.
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Bancroft's History of the United States, Vol.IV, p. 86:
"From that place, now called Lewisburg, to the mouth of the Great Kanawha, the distance is about 160 miles. At that time there was not even a trace over the rugged mountains, but the young woodsmen who formed the advance party moved expeditiously with their pack-horses and droves of cattle through the home of the wolf and the deer and the panther. After a fortnight's struggle, they left behind them the last rocky masses of the hilltops, and, passing between the gigantic growth of primeval forest, they descended to the widening valley of Elk River.”
Continuing A.E. EWING:
"Arriving at the Ohio, General Lewis encamped, awaiting the arrival of Lord Dunmore. Neither knew exactly where the other was, and it also seems neither knew exactly where the Indians were, but the Indians apparently knew every move of the Virginians from the time they were called to arms. They were led by a very capable Shawnee chief, Cornstalk, who had fought in the Pontiac wars and had led many expeditions against the white settlements of Virginia and Kentucky. He knew enough of the movements of the Virginia armies to plan a strategic attack upon the southern wing, intending to take it by surprise, exterminate it and then move north until he met Dunmore's division and battle it to the finish with his 1,000 braves. He succeeded so well in getting his men to the river, that he had his army on the Ohio side of the river before Lewis arrived on the Virginia side, a fact of which Lewis, for some reason, remained in ignorance."
Captain Stuart, in his "Memoirs"," recalled the opening incident of the battle:
"Two young men were sent out early to hunt for deer, and went up the river two or three miles, they fell on the camp of the Indians, who fired on them. One was killed. The other escaped and got back into camp just before sunrise. He stopped before my tent, and I discovered a number of men collecting around him as I lay in my bed. I jumped up and approached him to know what was the cause of the alarm, when I heard him declare that he had seen about five acres of land covered with Indians as thick as they could stand one beside the other.
"Instantly the drums beat to arms, and the men rolled out of their blankets, started from the ground, looked to their flints and priming, and were ready on the moment. Lewis immediately ordered out his brother, Colonel Charles LEWIS, and 150 troops. They had not marched quite half a mile from camp when about sunrise and attack was made on the from of this division by the united tribes of Indians, in number not less than 800 and by many thought to be 1,000."
Continuing A.E. EWING:
"It was a battle royal. Never before had a mass of Indians been squarely met by a mass of Virginians. The lines lengthened to a mile on each side and the average distance apart was only six rods. Both sides fought from behind trees, logs, stumps and brush and tree tops. It was every man for himself. The din of musketry was all that could be heard and that was continuous."
One of the stories which Enoch EWING told his grandson, A.E. EWING, about his father William ("which should be preserved and perpetuated for future generations") was this incident in the battle:
"The Virginians were fighting in true Indian fashion by keeping as much as possible behind trees, logs and anything that afforded protection. William was standing behind a tree, loading and firing in backwoodsman style, when another soldier, excitedly rushing for cover, crowed William from his supposed place of safety and took it himself. He had no more than done so before the soldier fell dean in his tracks with an Indian bullet through his head. William would doubtless have received the ball had he not been so unceremoniously pushed aside.
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"Also pertaining to this battle, William used to say that everytime he drew a bead on an Indian during the battle, his flintlock "flashed in the pan", but whenever he fired at random it went off with lots of smoke and a loud noise. I will add the Gilbert EWING insisted that this was his grandfather's (William) way of telling a joke.
"Grandfather Enoch also related that his father was one of a party of soldiers who skulked under cover of the banks of Crooked Creek to a point from which they attacked the Indians form the rear and that the fight was so bloody for a short time that Crooked Creek ran red with blood. I have since found it historically true that Captain STUART and two other companies executed exactly that flank attack and that it was the turning point in the day's battle. The Indians mistook the little band of soldiers to be the arrival of fresh troops from the east, and from that time on, directed their efforts at getting their army back across the Ohio."
The Virginians lost many brave men in that battle - 81 it is said, including two colonels, Charles LEWIS and John FIELD. The Botetourt commander, William FLEMING, was wounded, as were three men in Captain STUART's company, Charles KINNESON, William CLENDENNIN and Thomas FERGUSON.
The number of Indians killed and wounded could never be known for they were continually carrying off their dead and throwing them into the river. The dying redman's only desire was that his body might not fall into the hands of his pale-face opponent. His loss has been stated at 233.
The confrontation at the Ohio delayed Lewis' expedition into Ohio by a week. By that time Dunmore had been approached by the Indians with a prayer for peace and this was effected by the time
Lewis arrived at Kinnickinnick Creek, in today's Ross County, Ohio.
It is said Lewis' men were irate at the news of a treaty because it meant they were denied the opportunity to wipe out the Indian villages and destroy the redman's army.
In later years, General Lewis' son wrote that his father was obliged to double or triple the guard around his tent while Dunmore was present in order to preserve him from the wrath or the backwoods soldiers who were incensed at being turned back when in sight of their prey.
Dunmore's treaty which the Indians agreed to, called "The Terms of Our Reconciliation" and afterwards known as the Treaty of Camp Charlotte, contained the usual provisions, i.e., the Indians were to give up prisoners, surrender horses and other valuables taken from the whites, "to no more in the future hunt on or visit the south side of the Ohio River, except for the purpose of trading with the white people," etc. etc.
But it is interesting to note that the eighth provision of the treaty was: "To have from the Governor (Dunmore) a guarantee that no white people should be permitted to hunt on the northern or Indian side of the Ohio River" !!!
No sooner had Lewis arrived at Kinnickinnick than Dunmore ordered him home,and thus ended the Southern Division's part in Dunmore's War. Lewis' army, except for three companies under Colonel FLEMING,which remained at Point Pleasant to build a stockade, returned to Camp Union and from there were dispersed to their homes.
There are those who believe that the whole affair was
planned by Dunmore and the British as an effort to annihilate Lewis and his men. There are those who have said that Dunmore never had any intention at all of meeting Lewis at Point Pleasant and marching into enemy territory. Dunmore was sure, they have said, that Cornstalk would take on Lewis' force at Point Pleasant and wipe the entire army out of existence, and that Dunmore was quite taken aback on learning of Lewis' victory and at Cornstalk's offer to surrender, and he has been strongly denounced because of his treachery.
Descendants of men who died in that battle are eligible for DAR membership - granted by the DAR in 1901 because it was considered to be a battle of the American Revolution. But membership was granted to only those descendants of the men who died, on the grounds that they could not thereafter take part in any other battle of the Revolution.
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On to Ohio
Not long after William's return to Swago Creek from Point Pleasant, the Revolution began in earnest. While William was involved, John was not. By the time of the first call to arms among the militiamen of the frontier, John was too much the family man, and well past the average age of those responding (he turned 30 in 1777), and there were children in the Ewing cabin on Stony Creek, two with the arrival of Susannah EWING on 28 September 1776.
Anyone sending to General Services Administration in Washington D.C. for records of William's service is sent the papers of a completely different William EWING. That one served from 28 September 1776, to February 1778, in the service of Captain Gross SCROGGS, under Colonel Josiah PARKER of the 5th Virginia Foot, far removed from the Little Levels and Swago Creek area. In that time period William was very much engaged elsewhere. He was in fact back at Point Pleasant and was there on the 10 November 1777, to witness the murder of the great chief of the Shawnees, Cornstalk.
Enoch EWING's version of the incident, as A.E. told it:
"His father was a soldier at the fort at Point Pleasant when Chief CORNSTALK was killed by a mob of mad soldiers. William was guarding the prisoners - Cornstalk and his son and another Indian or two - when the mob rushed to the fort to kill the Indians. William did all in his power to prevent the massacre, but was overpowered by the soldiers who threatened to kill him also if he interfered with them."
The official story is this: In the fall of 1775, Captain Matthew ARBUCKLE, a veteran of the Point Pleasant campaign, was living at the Little Levels. That year he was ordered to raise a company and repair to Point Pleasant to construct a fort to replace Fort Blair. William enlisted in his company. Captain Arbuckle was one of the most experienced woodsmen and Indian fighter of his time. He was born about 1742 and removed while young to Greenbrier River country. In 1775 he was chosen captain of a company of scouts and as guide for Lewis' division of the army to Point Pleasant. He was an able and efficient officer, much trusted by General Edward HAND, head of the division at Fort Pitt. His son, of the same name, later became a general in the regular army. We have already met another of his sons, Thomas, who later married Jean, Jane or Jennie CLENDENNIN, Jeanet EWING'S granddaughter.
Immediately following the Battle of Point Pleasant in October, 1774, a stockade had been erected on the site. On November 11 that same year, Captain William RUSSELL and 50 men returned to build a small rectangular palisade structure that Russell called Fort Blair. On 5 June 1775, Dunmore ordered the garrison there to be discontinued but the Virginia convention quickly countered and hastened 100 men back to the site. On their arrival they found Fort Blair in ashes, but what cause no one could say.
It was ordered that the fort should be rebuilt and Captain ARBUCKLE and company were sent to do the job. There are conflicting dates as to when they arrived to start the work. Some history books say autumn of 1775, others say May of 1776.
Construction was not the only work of the garrison at Point Pleasant. Arbuckle's company of regulars also scouted the country "from Daniel Rand's bottom on New River to Point Pleasant" and generally kept an eye on the frontier.
"In the year 1777, the Indians, being urged by British agents, became very troublesome to frontier settlements, manifesting much appearance of hostilities," wrote Stuart in his "Memoirs".
That summer the government ordered an army of volunteers to be raised, to serve under General HAND. It was Hand's plan to raise troops and from Fort Pitt descend the Ohio to Point Pleasant and there meet companies from Augusta and Botetourt under Colonel George SKILLERN, and then all proceed to the Shawnee towns and "chastise them so as to compel them to a neutrality."
Neither division had much success in raising troops. Hand
did not succeed at all, and only three or four companies were raised by Skillern. Stuart volunteered to raise a company of Greenbrier men, but "we collected in all about 40."
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Stuart said the reason for this was: "The people had begun to see the difficulties attendant on a state of war and long campaigns carried through wildernesses, and but few were willing to engage in such service."
Andrew HAMILTON became, by drawing lots, captain of the small contingent, and William RENICK, Lieutenant. They proceeded to old Camp Union and joined Colonel SKILLERN'S troops there on their way to Point Pleasant.
In the meantime, Cornstalk with another warrior REDHAWK, had paid a visit to the garrison at Point Pleasant, to discuss the matter of the Indians joining with the British against the Americans. Cornstalk made no secret of the disposition of the Indians. He said that all the nation except himself and his own tribe were determined to engage in the war on the side of the British and that, of course, he and his tribe would have to "run with the stream" (Cornstalk's words).
"On this, Captain ARBUCKLE thought proper to detain him, the Redhawk, and another fellow as hostages, to prevent the nation from joining the British."
When the Greenbrier party arrived at Point Pleasant there was no account of General Hand or his army and no one was sure how long provisions would hold out while they awaited him.
One day, two young men name HAMILTON and GILMORE went over the Kanawa River to hunt for deer. On their way back to camp, some Indians who had concealed themselves among the weeds to spy on the encampment across the river, fired on Gilmore as he passed by them on the bank, and killed him.
"Captain Arbuckle and myself were standing on the opposite bank when the gun fired, and whilst we were wondering who it could be shooting, contrary to orders, or what they were doing over the river, we saw Hamilton run down the bank and call out that Gilmore was killed.
"GILMORE was one of the company of Captain John HALL of that part of the country now Rockbridge County. Hall's men instantly jumped into a canoe and went to the relief of HAMILTON, who was standing in momentary expectation of being put to death. They brought the corpse of Gilmore down the bank, covered with blood and scalped, and put him into the canoe.
"As they were passing the river, I observed to Captain ARBUCKLE that the people would be for killing the hostages as soon as the canoe landed. Arbuckle said he thought they would not commit so great a violence upon the innocent who had nothing to do with the murder of Gilmore.
"But the canoe had scarcely touched the shore when the cry was raised, 'let us kill the Indians in the fort!' and every man, with his gun in hand, came up the bank pale with rage. Captain Hall was at their head and leader. Captain Arbuckle and I met them and endeavored to dissuade them from so unjustifiable an action, but they cocked their guns and threatened us with instant death if we did not desist, and rushed by us into the fort and put the Indians to death."
It so happened that Cornstalk's son, Ellinipsico, was also there at the time and he too was killed. He had gone there the day before to see his father and to learn if the father were alive and well.
It was the wife of the interpreter who advised them the men wee coming to kill them. She heard the uproar and ran to their cabin to warn them. Ellinipsico, according to Stuart, "trembled exceedingly. His father encouraged him not to be afraid for that the Great Man above had sent him to be killed and die with him.
"As the men advanced to the door, the Cornstalk rose up and met them. They fired upon him, and seven or eight bullets went through him. So fell the great Cornstalk warrior, whose name was bestowed upon him by the consent of the nation, as their great strength and support. His son was shot dead, as he sat upon a stool. The Redhawk made an attempt to go up the chimney, but was shot down. The other Indian was shamefully mangled, and I grieved to see him so long in the agonies of death."
Enoch EWING had it in his story that when Chief Cornstalk saw he was to be shot, he stood up, pulled back the flaps of his hunting shirt and bared his breast for the bullets.
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Captain ARBUCKLE and STUART gave respectful burial to Cornstalk and those who perished with him. Someone once called STUART "the most relentless, yet the most generous foe that ever menaced the frontiers of America." In 1899 a monument was erected to him at Point Pleasant, and there is a town in Greenbrier County named for him.
General HAND eventually arrived on the scene, but without an army.
In April and May of 1778, Captain HALL and others of his company how had a hand in the murder were brought to trial in their home county of Rockbridge, and were acquitted.
Captain ARBUCKLE continued in command at Fort Randolph, which name had been given to the palisade, until the close of 1777 when he was succeeded by Captain William MCKEE of Rockbridge County, and when Captain Arbuckle returned to the Little Levels, William EWING returned with him.
Those two years or so at Point Pleasant appear to have been the extent of William's Revolutionary service. At least no mention was made of further service by Enoch, and certainly not of any part in the Yorktown campaign in which so many men of the Greenbrier region, in fact in all Virginia, were involved. In January, 1781, nearly all able-bodied men were drafted for duty to assist at the Siege of Yorktown. Little Levelers were under Colonel Sampson MATTHEWS in General CAMPBELL'S Brigade. Many soldiers in Campbell's regiment reported in their pension papers of being in the Battle of Jamestown, and in skirmishes nearby and serving at Yorktown, though none recorded being at Yorktown at the time of the surrender.
I think if William had a part in that final campaign of the Revolution, Enoch would have known about it and passed it down. As he did not, we can only conclude that William was among those guarding the homefront at the time.
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Revolution and Murder of Cornstalk
Next up for discussion is James' part in the Revolution. According to Gilbert EWING, our progenitor was Captain James EWING, and many of our women have gone into DAR in that belief.
And, as it turns out, there was a James EWING who was a captain of a company of militia in Augusta County during (and before) the Revolution.
But it also turns out that there was another James EWING in colonial Augusta County who definitely was a captain. He was a merchant in Staunton, Augusta's county seat (he was in Staunton as early as 10 February 1761, when he was a defendant against Philip BENEZET/BENEGET. In his will of 1795 he is referred to as "Captain James EWING."
In Virginia state papers: 1762, James EWING qualified as captain of Augusta militia; April 15, 1765, James EWING allowed by court, pay for provisions furnished the militia; May 20 1777, a successor recommended to replace James EWING who resigned his commission.
Does that refer to our James or the James of Staunton?
Gilbert could not have seen those state papers and from them just assumed that James EWING was ours. How else could he have known about the captain part of his great-grandfather's name, unless his father had told him?.
So what do you do in a case like this? The DAR apparently
does not care. Our James' descendants has gone in under that captain, but I am willing to be so have descendants of the Staunton James Ewing.
And if the DAR does not care, why should we?
For the record, Captain James EWING, the merchant of Staunton, was married to Martha WILSON, daughter of Colonel John and Martha WILSON, also early residents of Staunton. The colonel was for 27 years a representative to the Virginia House of Burgesses in Williamsburg. Both he and his wife, Martha who died in 1755 are buried at Glebe Cemetery in Staunton, as are Captain James EWING, his wife Martha and most of their children. Several of whom died young.
Captain James' will is dated February 3, 1795 and was proved October 18, 1796. His wife, Martha is mentioned, also two sons, James and Joseph, two daughters, Martha and Nancy, also several slaves (which definitely sets him apart from our EWINGS). almost all the references for James EWING in CHALKLEY'S appear to be for the Captain James. He also had a brother, Joseph, who survived him.
Well, if the Staunton James EWING was not enough to confuse our early Ewing historians, it turns out there was a third James EWING on the frontier at the same time - and that could boggle the mind of any historian.
This James appears to have arrived in Greenbrier River country in the 1780's and he had with him a large and grown family, several sons with names similar to our Ewings (John, William) and to the James Ewing of Staunton (James, Joseph).
He shared land in what is today Monroe County, West Virginia, with one Francis MCNUTT - 380 acres on Indian and Turkey Creeks, about 50 miles south of Swago Creek. There was a grant to James EWING Sr. and Francis MCNUTT "by virtue of a certificate in right of settlement (meaning they were there prior to 15 June 1782) and in consideration of the ancient composition of two pounds sterling." dated 9 May 1787.
Both the EWING and the MCNUTTS were prevalent in early Monroe County annals. (Monroe was created from Greenbrier County in 1799.) James had a large family, which spread widely, but he seems to have no connection with our James.
Interestingly enough, the other two James appear together on a document. When James II and his wife Martha in Staunton sold their 1,000-acre tract on Wolf Creek (not far from Indian Creek) to James Byrnside, one of the witnesses to the transaction was the Indian Creek James Ewing, so they must have been acquainted, if not related.
I have looked into these Indian Creek Ewings rather extensively being exceedingly interested in them, in that, as it turns out, I am related to them -on another side of the family - and in fact, almost ended up being an Indian Creek rather than a Swago Creek Ewing.
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That area was also the home of my HANKS and MATTHEWS ancestors, who lived not far from the Ewings. My great-great-grandmother, Mary Ann MATTHEWS, was once engaged to one of James' grandsons, an Oliver, I believe, but before the marriage too place, he was killed by a falling branch from a tree, and Mary Ann subsequently married Caleb HANK, my great-great-grandfather, whose daughter Nancy, married a Swago Creek Ewing.
However, one of Mary Ann's sisters, Isabelle MATTHEWS, did marry one of the Turkey Creek Ewings, John. These two and others of his family eventually went to Lewis County, Missouri, near where the town of Ewing now is. John and Isabelle both died young but left a daughter Susan Jane, named for Isabelle's mother, Susan Jane (BERRY) MATTHEWS. Susan Jane married John Mell HOWELL (Not one of our HOWELLS) which union eventually produced Robert HOWELL of Quincy, Illinois. Robert, descendant then of the Monroe County EWINGS married one of us - Mary Lou, a descendant of the Pocahontas EWING through Thomas. So I am related to both of them. - to Mary Lou through the EWINGS, and to Robert through the MATTHEWS.
From those Lewis County Ewings (hence the James Ewing of Monroe County) stemmed a rather prominent lady for the name of Ella Ewing. Ella achieved fame by being 8 feet tall and appearing with a circus for several years. She was called the Giantess. There is not a Ewing in Missouri who has not heard of her and claimed kinship. To set the record straight regarding Ella's
ancestry, she was the daughter of Benjamin and Anna Eliza (HERRING) EWING, granddaughter of William and Elizabeth (CREACY) EWING and great-granddaughter of Oliver EWING, son of the Monroe County James.
And that brings us to another Ewing of Greenbrier River country, one closer to home (that is, the Little Levels area) Joshua EWING. Joshua has puzzled Ewing researchers for over three-quarters of a century. In trying to fit him into the picture of our Ewings we continually come up with dead ends, but the more I work with him the more I am convinced that he was close kin, close enough to have been James' nephew, meaning that his nameless father must have been a brother of James.
Joshua appears to have been born about 1740, thus was a contemporary of Indian John and Swago Bill. He had his wife, Eleanor, and family arrived at Little Levels prior to 1778 (from where, no one knows; There are many Joshuas in "Clan Ewing" but none of them can be this one) and took up lands on Locust Creek. As it turns out in his land survey of 1792, he received 250 acres of land as assignee of James Ewing. (Some have that as assignee of Samuel EWING but I have seen the original and it is definitely James.) These were a part of the 370 acres our James EWING had surveyed for him on Locust Creek on 22 October 1751.
In the years ahead the two families, Joshua's and ours, were very close, not just in distance but in relationship to each other. One of the closest was Joshua's daughter, Hannah, who married John COLLINS. The Collins went to Gallia County, Ohio, in 1810 or there about and so very likely went with the Ewing caravan of April or May of 1810. Three of their daughters married sons of Indian John and Swago Bill. Gilbert EWING, close to the scene, always referred to them as cousins.
Joshua's will (filed in Bath County) is dated 1804 and was proved 11 April 1811. The appraisers of his property were John WADDELL, Jonathan MCNEILL and Aaron MOORE , familiar names in this section of "JAMES EWING, PIONEER".
It is my opinion that the other William EWING at Little Levels at the same time as our Swago Bill, was a brother of Joshua, and therefore kin to us, too. I judge that William was born about 1750. A William EWING ( and a John) are mentioned in land papers concerning Joshua and, in fact, Joshua's land adjoined William's.
What I know about that William is that on 8 August 1791, he married Mary TAYLOR wife or widow of Daniel TAYLOR. Daniel and Mary were married 17 March 1773. Daniel was among those who served with Captain John STUART's company at Point Pleasant in 1774. His lands adjoined those of John POAGE and Alexander WADDELL in the Swago-Mill Point area. His name disappears from records after 1786.
In November 1791, Mary and William were indicted by the Bath County Grand Jury "for intermarrying, the husband of the said Mary not yet being dead that we know of from the information of two of our own body." The case was dismissed in 1793.
Mary and Daniel had a large Taylor family that produced many Taylors, for present-day Pocahontas County. Mary and William EWING also had several children, among them no doubt the Emily who married a Barlow and helped in later days to populate Harrison (?) Township of Gallia County to the confusion of Ewing historians in days to come.
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William EWING was the "maker of mould boards who had all he could do to meet the demand" in Price's 1901 Pocahontas history.
And he was the William EWING who has come down to us through the years as Long Bill. (He must have been tall) I am sure, very sure, that he and his descendants and all of us in this book are cousins.
Still on the subject of Ewings in Pocahontas and Monroe Counties, in talking with his grandfather, Enoch, A.E. EWING learned that at one time (about 1800) there were four William Ewings in the general vicinity, so they each were given nicknames to keep them separate, the above Long Bill being one of them. Our William became Swago Bill, because he lived on Swago Creek. Swago Bill's nephew, William EWING, Indian John's eldest, seems to have had a deformity and was called Stumpy Bill.The fourth William EWING was called Turkey Bill. A.E. passed it down that this was because he had shot at a turkey and killed a neighbor's cow (in which case would not he have been called Cow Bill?) but I rather imagine it was because he was the William EWING who was a son of the Monroe County James EWING, who lived on Turkey Creek.
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James Ewing and Family
When William returned home after duty at Fort Randolph, he found that he was living in a new county. In 1777 Greenbrier County had been formed and, when it was, it took in that part of Botetourt County in which Swago Creek lay. Greenbrier took in all of what is now Greenbrier and Monroe Counties, plus the southern half of present Pocahontas County. Again Swago Creek was the dividing line. Indian Johns, north of Swago, was still in Augusta County and would be until Greater Bath County was formed in 1791. Now William only had to go to Lewisburg for court business instead of all the way to Fincastle as when he as in Botetourt County.
William settled down to being a farmer - but he was still a bachelor, even though 25. In 1783 one of the last attempts by the Indians to drive settlers out of the Greenbrier Valley was made. It was brief and without serious consequences but for William could have been disastrous.
I'll let A.E. EWING tell it:
"An alarm was spread in the valley that Indians were in the vicinity.It reached William while he was plowing in the field. He hastily unhitched his horses, leaving his plow in the furrow, and betook him self and team to the fort some six or eight miles away. (Later determined to have been the fort at Mill Point) Here all waited an attack or further reports. Of course the men were armed with their hunting rifles and stood ready to put up a fight if necessary. After a day or two, and hearing nothing further, they began to think the alarm was false. William decided to slip back to his home to see if anything had been disturbed. Finding everything just as he had left it, he decided to go to the field and carry his plow to some hiding place in the woods before returning to the fort. Shouldering his prize plow, he was proceeding with it along the woods road in the direction of the fort when suddenly he heard noises like three thuds in succession. Turning his head in the direction of the noises he saw three rifle barrels pointed at him, and instantly three clicks in succession. These clicks wee the striking of the hammers of the three rifles. Had the powder been dry, that would have been the end of William EWING and this story would never have been told. It happened to be, however, a damp day and the Indians, not expecting to have use for their guns, had been careless about keeping them well and freshly primed.
"But William took the hint to move on. He dropped his plow and took to his heels with all the speed a scared man could command. The Indians took after him, as grandfather expressed it, 'full tilt'. William made the best time. Apparently the Indians counted on out-winding him in a short time. but William used his head as well as his feet. It happened that there was a sharp rise in the road ahead and then a descent. On getting over the hill, he looked back. The Indians were not in view. He suddenly left the road, dodged into the woods a short distance and hid behind a large tree. In a few moments he had the great satisfaction of seeing the Indians run pst him, keeping to the road. The rest was easy. He kept himself well concealed in the woods and eventually made his way in safety to the fort. He and the others neighbors saw nor heard any more of the Indians and in a few days the people all returned to their various and widely separated homes. William found everything all right, except that brood of young quails he had been trying to domesticate had disappeared."
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At some time between 3 November 1776 and 25 May 1779, there appeared on the Swago Creek from the South Branch of the Potomac River in today's Hardy County, West Virginia, a family by the name of MCNEILL.
It was headed by Thomas and included his wife, Mary, and at least three of their children - Jonathan, Mary and Gabriel - and possibly their fourth, Naomi, born 1777/1778. Their two sons, Enoch and Absolem, were born after their arrival on Swago Creek.
The time period of their arrival in Pocahontas County is fixed by these two known facts:.
1. Gabriel was born on the South Branch, 3 November 1776 and
2. A "Petition of the inhabitants of that part of Greenbrier County called Little Levels to be joined with Cow Pasture, Jackson River and the upper parts of Greenbrier into a new county if Augusta is divided," was dated 25 May 1779.
Among the signers was Thomas MCNEILL.
Thomas was the son of John MCNEILL, one of the earliest settlers in that area of Hardy County known for many of its younger years as South Branch Manor, a Lord Fairfax domain.
The first white man ever to see the South Branch of the Potomac was Netherlands-born John VAN METER, an Indian trader who had gone out to Western Virginia about 1716. On his return to his home in New Jersey, he advised his sons, John Jr. and Isaac, birth born in Kingston, Ulster County, New York to take up lands in the "Wappatomaka Valley", on the South Branch River about "The Trough", as it was the finest land he had ever discovered. Subsequently, at least one of the sons, John, took his advice and was settled there by 1740, along with all his 11 children and their families. They are generally credited with being the first settlers in what is now West Virginia.
Among VAN METER'S followers were our MCNEILL ancestor, name unknown, and his sons, Daniel and John MCNEILL. It has been said that the "original" MCNEILL married a VAN METER but I do not find a McNeill-Van Meter marriage in early Van Meter genealogies.
John and Daniel McNeill, along with the Van Meters and dozens of others, are listed among the LORD FAIRFAX tenants in South Branch Manor, John with 437 acres, Lot 9, and Daniel with 320 acres, Lot 7. The rent list are undated so it is difficult to determine exactly when the MCNEILLS arrived on the South Branch. If it was after 1740-1744, then the South Branch is where Thomas was born.
Prior to 1754, South Branch Manor was a part of Frederick County, Virginia. In 1754, the western half of Frederick split off to become Hampshire County. It remained Hampshire for 32 years but in 1786 Hampshire was divided in two, the southern portion where South Branch Manor was going to the new county of Hardy.
South Branch Mannor was a part of an enormous royal grant Lord Fairfax inherited on the death of his mother, LADY CULPEPPER - many thousands of acres in Northern Virginia which now includes 11 Virginia and West Virginia Counties and parts of other.
He set off 55,000 of those acres, located on the South Branch of the Potomac, as a manor, of which he was to be the overlord and collect rents from his tenants - but he had not counted on a Revolution. After the war the American government confiscated much of the Fairfax land. Fairfax Manor went to MARTIN FAIRFAX, milord's nephew and heir, who eventually decided to give it up. In 1793, when he exacted from his tenants a promise to buy their respective acreage, McNeill's holdings in the manor totaled 4,863 acres. The land was in the name of John MCNEILL, 653 acres and Daniel MCNEILL, 1,617 acres and 2,593 acres. The original Daniel had died long before 1793. He had three sons, John Jr., Daniel, Jr. and William. The latter emigrated to Ohio at an early date. Of the two remaining, Daniel prospered greatly and increased greatly, until today it seems the entire county, especially the area around Moorefield, Old Fields and the little town of McNeill, must be populated by only McNeill kin.
The original Daniel left three more Daniels in a straight line - Captain Daniel, about 1745-1806; Daniel, 1768-1844 and Daniel R., 1802-1888.
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Daniel R. seems to have been outstanding among the Hardy County McNeills; in fact, "Upper Monongahela Valley" cites him as being "the most successful business man ever to appear on the South Branch". He apparently massed quite a fortune as a dealer in livestock.
G. Douglas MCNEILL of Marlinton,a descendant of Thomas, wrote this interesting tidbit to A.E. EWING after a visit to the South Branch in 1939:
"Some weeks ago I spent a few days on South Branch, supposedly fishing, but in chief trying to determine the route over which the McNeills came from Hardy County. There are so many possible ways that nothing definite can be decided.
"I saw the old McNeill Plantation at Moorefield. It was a whopper - some 6 by 2 miles. He built an enormous house - 20 rooms and the rooms anywhere from 15 x 20 x 20 x 30. His descendants say he was crowed by his large family in his log house so he built the brick house and swore he would have room. When the house was complete, the family was gone."
The house, called Willow Hall, is mentioned frequently in guide and history books; one being "American Guide," page 434. However, some accounts say the house dates from 1818, but Daniel was only 16 then and would hardly have been the father of a large family.
Two of the best known McNeills in West Virginia history were J. Hanson MCNEILL, a son of Strother and a grandson of Captain Daniel, plus his son, Jesse MCNEILL. They were leaders of a renowned Confederate band known as MC NEILL RANGERS. Jesse took over the leadership when his father was killed. Under Jesse the Rangers harassed the Union Army in the Virginia Valley during the Civil War and made the history books by capturing Union generals CROOK and AVERELL in 1865.
Now to our side of the McNeill family. The original John MCNEILL, brother of Daniel I, had four sons (and probably daughters, though nothing is known of them). He left no will. The sons were our Thomas, born about 1740; John MCNEEL, born 1745; Daniel (called Daniel Jr. when his estate was inventoried in Hardy County in 1827).
Daniel was the only one of these to remain in Hardy County. He may have descendants there, though I have not been able to find any.
John was the celebrated John MCNEEL of Hillsboro, Pocahontas County who has been credited with being the first permanent settler of Little Levels.
The story goes that in 1765, when he was about 21, John had the occasion to be in Cumberland, only 35 or so miles from Moorefield. Being found of athletics, he engaged in a boxing match with another young man, whom John knocked out to such an extent that he was regarded as fatally injured.
Fearful of a charge of murder, John fled. He went deep into the wilderness, his direction of flight being southwest. Eventually he came to the Little Levels, which he looked on with awe, amazement and pleasure ...."an extensive wooded plain bounded by mountain ranges of unsurpassed beauty and very fertile." It looked so much like his native region around South Branch that he decided to settle there, and chose a site for his cabin.
One day while out hunting, he met two men from nearby his old home, Charles and Jacob KINNESON. The brothers had gone out to the Greenbrier region looking for a possible place to settle. John learn from them that the man he boxed with was not dead, not even seriously hurt.
That good news reaching his ears, John made preparations to return to the South Branch at once, but not before assisting the two Kinnesons in making a selection for claims adjoining his tract.
John returned to the South Branch and in 1767 he married Martha DAVIS. Soon afterwards they (and the Kinnesons) went back to the Little Levels, where they spent the rest of their years.
A great-great-grandson of Thomas, J.E. BUCKLEY of Marlinton, wrote thusly to A.E. EWING in 1937:
"We have near Hillsboro another MCNEEL family who are descended from John MCNEEL, being the first settler in the Little Levels in 1765. This family were leaders of the Confederacy in this county, while ours, who spell their names MCNEILL were Union men, and these two related families have been arrayed against each other politically now for 75 years and all you need to know what one's politics are is to ask him how he spells his names. If he is related to either family he votes like that family. For any one of my relatives to vote for a Democrat would be to divorce himself from all his people.
"There is a saying in this county that the MCNEELS have the money and the MCNEILLS have the brains"
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Of the fourth, nameless, son of our progenitor, John MCNEILL, I have no knowledge, except I was told that he removed to Knoxville, Tennessee. I have often wondered about this, though: I wonder if maybe he went to Louisville, Kentucky, not Knoxville. There was an exodus from the South Branch in the late 1770s and early 1780 to that area in the newly formed (1779) Virginia county of Lincoln in what is now Kentucky, which then included the settlements around Harrodsburg, General George Rogers Clark's headquarters. I wonder if the brother might have been in the movement and might have been the father of the Thomas MCNEILL of Lincoln County who has long been taken as ours and of whom we will hear more about in a bit.
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Not far from the South Branch - a bit north in today's Hampshire County on the Cacapon River - lived a family by the name of HUGHES, a name that figures prominently on the MCNEILL side of the family.
A lot of work needs to be done on the Hughes before anything can be said about them with any degree of certainty. What has been done in the past is so badly garbled as to be not only worthless but ridiculous.
At this point in time, with the information available to me from the limited research I have been able to give it, this is the way I see the family.
The Hughes were Welsh and may easily have been of the Hughes family prominent in the Welsh settlement of Gwynned, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, who were in America before 1698.
There was another Hughes settlement in Goochland County, Virginia, but those Hughes appeared to be in no way related to ours.
When William HUGHES SR., arrived on the Cacapon in or near 1752, he had with him his family of seven children, all grown and with families of their own. They were:
1. Hugh HUGHES, wife - Susan/Susannah
2. Thomas HUGHES, wife - Susannah
3. William HUGHES, JR., wife - Mary
4. Evan HUGHES
5. Mary HUGHES ANDERSON
6. Sudra HUGHES CARPENTER
7. Sarah HUGHES BAKER
The seven were named (in that order - sons first, daughters last) in William's will, dated 31 December 1762. A wife was not mentioned.
In 1752 William received a grant of 400 acres on the Great Cacapon, which was then in Frederick County, Virginia. That same year his son Thomas was granted 419 acres "on the waters of the Cacapon." In the year 1754, in a Frederick County listing, William Jr. received a grant for 460 acres on Cacapon River. Also in 1754, Hughes received 480 acres on the Great Cacapon. 1754 was the year that part of Frederick County became Hampshire County and Hugh's grant appears listed under both counties.
I have estimated William Sr.'s birth to have occurred about 1698; therefore he was about 65-69 when he died 1763-1767. His will bears the date 31 December 1762, and was proved 9 June 1767.
Of the four sons there is further information on only Hugh and Thomas. Nothing more whatsoever is known of William Jr. or Evan, except that William and his wife, Mary, sold their 460 acres on the Cacapon in 1772.
Nor is anything more known about the three daughters, Mary, who married an ANDERSON, Sudra, who married a CARPENTER, and Sarah, who married a BAKER.
Thomas HUGHES has been fairly easy to find out about. This is primarily because he was a "first settler" (Harrison County, West Virginia) and historians are always eager to have at the "firsts". But it was also because some of his sons achieved a "tad" of renown. There is mention of Thomas in Callahan's "Semi-Centennial History of West Virginia", Page 35, and there is even a picture of him in one of the West Virginia histories - a full length sketch of him drawn after his death according to details recounted to the artist. Thomas was born in 1727 and died May, 1778.
Although he received a grant in 1752 for 419 acres on the waters of the Cacapon, he may not have been living there at the time, for his son Ellis (alias Elias) said in his Revolutionary War pension papers that he was born on South Branch, and that birth took place in 1747. Thomas disposed of part of his Cacapon land in 1761 and part in 1763.
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In 1772, Thomas HUGHES, his wife, Susannah BAKER, and several other families headed out for the virgin country of Harrison County and settled on Hacker's Creek in today's Lewis County. There, near the town of Jane Lew, Thomas was killed in May, 1778, by marauding Indians. Also killed were a son, name unknown, and Jonathan LOWTHER, brother of the Colonel William LOWTHER who had married Thomas' daughter, Sudna, back in Hardy County.
Thomas's known children were: Ellis, Jesse, Sudna, a daughter who married a RATCLIFF, Thomas Jr., Jonathan, James, and the son who was killed by Indians. Four of the sons were soldiers in the Revolution, and a fifth, Thomas Jr., was an Indian fighter later on. Ellis and Jesse were famed as frontier scouts. Ellis eventually settled in Licking County, Ohio and on his death 22 December 1844, age 97, he was acclaimed as "the last survivor of the Battle of Point Pleasant". While he may have headquartered at Point Pleasant at one time or another, it beats me how he made it there for the historic battle of 1774. There were no companies out of Harrison County at that battle. Men from Harrison or any northern county, if they went out in Lord Dunmore's War at all, were more likely to have gone with Dunmore himself, and thus have missed the battle completely.
There are two interesting sketches in "History of Licking County" regarding Ellis and his son, Jonathan, Pages 12, 13, 696 and 697.
Thomas's son Jonathan, born 25 March 1753, in Hampshire County, is a little closer to us. For one thing he lived at one time in Pocahontas County and at another in Gallia County, Ohio where he took out papers for a pension for his Revolutionary War service. He returned to Salem, Harrison County, West Virginia where he died in 1837, age 84, but a son Anderson, remained in Gallia County, Ohio and is mentioned again later on in this work.
Of the seven of William Sr's children it is really only Hugh that interest us. The eldest of the seven, he was probably born about 1725, no doubt in this country, and very possibly in the Hughes settlement in Gwynned, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Hugh was married prior to the family's move to the Cacapon, probably about 1746, his wife being Susan or Susannah. Their five sons were named in his will and those five plus two daughters were named in Susannah's will.
Following his father's lead, Hugh bought land on the Cacapon from the colonial government - 480 acres. The date of his grant was 1754, the same year Frederick County, Virginia was divided, the western half being Hampshire County.
Hugh was named in his father's December 31 1762 will, but appears to have died himself not long after that will was made. His own will was drawn 9 Jan 1762/3?, when he was only about 37, and proved 10 May 1763.
Figuring that his seven children were probably born in a period from 1748 to 1762, that means the eldest was about 14 and the youngest, only an infant at Hugh's death. That infant was probably Jonathan, who was asked "to be put out to learn a trade" in his father's will.
At any rate Susannah had her hands full, but she carried on and one by one the children married or left the nest to be on their own. In 1782, she was the head of a household of four, herself included, in the Hampshire County census on a list taken by Levi ASHBROOK, Gent. in a district which covered the Capon Valley. Next to her was son James with a family of himself and seven.
Susannah was probably about 60 when she drew her will, on
11 April 1791. The will was drawn in Hardy County, but in it she said that she was a resident of Cape Cacapon. Maybe Hardy County is where daughter Hannah FRAZER lived, or possibly she was visiting one of her sons at the time she made out her will.
In her will, Susannah mentioned her five sons and two daughters, as noted, but also two granddaughters, Hannah (Hannah HUGHES, that is) and Mary FRAZER, The will was witnessed by Samuel BAKER JR., Thomas LITTLER and John FRAZER.
Of the seven children, only James HUGHES and his family are found in the Capon Valley in ensuing years. In James' will made in Hardy County, 14 July 1802, (when he was 46) he named his wife Mary and 10 children: Aaron, Jonathan, John Levy, William, Isaac, Rebecca, Susannah, Elizabeth, Mary, Rachel and Leah. Aaron is listed in the 1810 census index for Hampshire County, Page 788. The daughter Rebecca married David OGDEN whose will was drawn in Hardy County on 15 January 1823, in which he named Rebecca and 10 children including Polly who had by then married a SWITZER. Two other daughters of James had married by the time of his will in 1802 - Susannah, whose husband was a STEWARD, and Elizabeth, who married an ELY.
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Nothing is known of two sons of Hugh and Susannah. Hugh Jr. and the youngest, Jonathan, although one of them had a daughter, Hannah. Hannah, Hugh and Susannah's youngest daughter had married a FRAZER by the time of her mothers death in 1791 (possibly the John FRAZER who witnessed Susannah's will) and had a daughter Mary FRAZER.
That leaves William, Mary and Evan. These three eventually ended up in Pocahontas County.
Mary was our ancestor. She became the wife of Thomas MCNEILL and was the mother of "our little great-grandmother".
Evan was evidently the Evan HUGHES who witnessed Mary HUGHES MCNEILL'S consent for her daughter, Naomi, to wed Jonas SMITH in 1796.
And William was the progenitor of all the Hughes who did more than their share to populate Pocahontas County in the years to come.
William was born about 1748. His wife, it is said, was Mary (Molly) DATEN\DAYTON. While the McNeills went to Pocahontas County about 1779, William and Mary appear not to have gone until about 1783. That year William received two grants - one for 170 acres and another for 200 acres. Both were at Little Levels which at that time was in Greenbrier County. Those were the only two Hughes grants in all of Greenbrier County.
William and Mary's children were as follows:
1. Susannah HUGHES, born, 17 April 1767. Married 1786, David KINNESON
2. Dorcas HUGHES, (Dorothy in marriage records) born about 1768. Married 1788, Jacob KINNESON
3. Elizabeth Anne HUGHES, born about 1769. Married 24 November 1795, James JOHNSON
4. Rebecca HUGHES, born about 1771. Married - 1789, James BUNDLEY
5. Moses HUGHES, born about 1774. Married - 1799, Nancy STEPHENSON
6. Milburn HUGHES, born 25 October 1777. Married - 1801, Susanna STEPHENSON Milburn was the first constable of Pocahontas County when that county was formed in 1822.
7. Mary HUGHES , born about 1780. Married 3 July 1804, Solomon BAKER
8. Hannah HUGHES, born about 1785. Married 18 January 1805, Michael JOHNSON. Moved to Ritchie County, then Wood County, West Virginia
With the exception of Hannah, all of these children left progeny in Pocahontas County. There are swarms of KINNESONS there today, who descend from Susannah and Dorcas. I am under the impression the HUGHES name died out, but there are otherwise named descendants of the only sons, Moses and Milburn.
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The exact date of the marriage of Thomas MCNEILL and Mary HUGHES is not known, but as their first child was born in 1770, the date was probably about 1768/1769, and no doubt it is recorded somewhere in Hardy County or its predecessors.
Their first 10 years of married life were spent on the South Branch, but by 1779 the move to Swago Creek had been made. In the Buckeye area, William EWING, who was there first, took the best plateau land at Swago Creek. Joshua BUCKLEY, who was next in 1772/1775, took the river bottom on both sides at the mouth of Swago Creek. Thomas MCNEILL, the "late-comer, had third choice and while it was above the average it was both rocky and rough compared to the river bottom and the plateau.
The 300 acres on which Thomas and Mary settled, on Rush Run at Buckeye, had originally been claimed by John BARKER, Land Office Treasury Warrant 21470. Barker originally had 5,663 acres and Thomas was severing a portion of them. William Ewing had done the same thing. He severed 145 acres of Barker's plus 600 acres of John KAY's 1,031 1/4 acres. Barker's warrant number appears on both the McNeill and Ewing grants.
Thomas' warrant is dated 24 December 1783. The 300 acres wee surveyed 7 December 1791, probably by the same William POAGE, S.B.C., (Surveyor Bath County) who six months later, 29 June 17972, surveyed Swago Bill's 745 acres.
Many years ago, Asa Winters MCNEILL sent A.E. EWING the calls in Thomas' 1791 survey, but I fear he or whoever copied them erred, because when reduced to scale they end up a lot of squiggly lines going nowhere and do not seem to want to cover 10 acres let alone 300.
The land was assessed to Thomas MCNEILL in 1792, 1793 and 1794. In 1795 it was assessed as the Thomas McNeill estate. The patent, signed by Virginia's Governor Robert BROOKE, was granted
27 April 1796 - two years after Thomas' death.
In 1809 his sons, Absolem and Gabriel, conveyed their interests in the 300 acres to Enoch MCNEILL, who remained there for a time. In the meantime (1799), Jonathan had bought the Sam YOUNG land at the mill for 50 pounds sterling and was living there. In 1814, Enoch and his wife, Jane MOORE, conveyed the 300 acres to Jonathan, whose descendants still own the land today.
Thomas is buried at the Joseph BUCKLEY graveyard, located on the Bucks Mountain tract which belonged to some of the Thomas and Mary's BUCKLEY descendants. Mary went to Ohio with others of her family and is buried in the Ewing Cemetery near Ewington, though no stone marks her resting place.
Because he was in the right place at the right time, there
is no question but what Thomas MCNEILL qualifies as a DAR "patriot ancestor."
But I doubt that many of his descendants believe he actually saw the service with which he is credited in DAR files, though some have gone into DAR under papers sent by the Virginia State Library in Richmond when requesting information about his service. The papers they receive are for Thomas MCNEILL, all right, but not ours. They are for a Thomas MCNEILL living in Lincoln County where his service originated.
Lincoln County, Virginia was created in 1779 and is now part of Kentucky. It included then most of the Kentucky frontier and centered at Harrodsburg, which was the seat of most of General George Rogers CLARK'S operations - also Colonel Benjamin LOGAN and all the other officers mentioned in the Thomas MCNEILL papers.
In sending the papers, H.R. MC IIWAINE, Virginia State Librarian in 1919, explained: "These militia companies were paid only when they were called into actual service. The companies remained in existence and were liable to be called out into actual service at any time," meaning the men had to be right handy to the captains for the call.
The dates of the MCNEILL pay periods are: July 19 - August 19, 1780; February 26, 1780, 13 days; July 8 to August 28, 1780; April 21 to May 23, 1781; February 22 to March 22, 1782, and October 22 to November 23 1782.
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On those dates our Thomas, then around 40, was hundreds of miles from Harrodsburg, hardly in a position to be called up by the Harrodsburg captains at a moments notice. By that time he was the father of five going on six. If he saw any militia duty at all it surely would have been with companies nearer to home.
(Incidentally, on seeing the name George Rogers CLARK in the McNeill papers, some descendants thought automatically that McNeill had been "one of Clark's 165 immortals to conquer the west," but of course, Clark's expedition to Illinois and his defeat of the Indians at Vincennes, Indiana, took place in 1779 - long before the above service.)
I have a strong hunch that the other Thomas MCNEILL, the one of Lincoln County, was a nephew of our Thomas. As has been noted, many from the South Branch (VAN METERS, HITES, etc.) left there in the 1770s in favor of the Kentucky frontier. I feel that further research will reveal that our Thomas' brother-without-a-name went in that exodus, not to Tennessee as has been said, but to Kentucky, and that this was his son who served from Lincoln County. Whoever that Thomas was anyway, he remained in Lincoln County for awhile at least after the war, for I found his marriage in 1783 to Elizabeth SWAN.
Of the six children of Thomas and Mary MCNEILL, only the eldest, Jonathan, remained in Pocahontas County. Jonathan was quite an ingenious fellow. He had a mill, for milling, weaving and fulling; a dye works and a plant making powder for guns going all at once, as well as his farm. His wife was Phoebe MOORE, a daughter of Moses MOORE JR., the well-known Pocahontas County pioneer. Jonathan and Phoebe had four sons, three of whom did their best to help populate Little Levels in years to come.
The McNeill land at Buckeye, added to and shaved upon occasion, remained in the family through each succeeding generation. In 1963, it was dedicated as a Centennial Farm.
Today it is owned by great-great-great-grandchildren of Thomas, partly by James MCNEIL, who lives there and partly by his sister, Louise MCNEILL PEASE of Lewisburg. On 12 May 1979, the latter was installed West Virginia's Poet Laureate by Governor ROCKEFELLER.
Gabriel MCNEILL, Thomas and Mary's third child, was an illustrious person in his time and place. He went to Ohio in the 1810 exodus and settled in Jackson County as one of its first occupants, and was the new (1816) county's first surveyor and its only physician for a while. Dr. MCNEEL was also a justice of the peace and performed many of the early marriages. His wife was Rebecca STEPHENSON and they had 11 children, most of whom remained in Jackson County, Ohio and have descendants there today.
Not much is known about Naomi, Mary's only sister. Her first husband was Jonas SMITH, whom she married on Swago Creek, and her second was Thomas OLIVER, whom she married in Jackson county. If she had any children by either, they are not known.
Absolem MCNEILL and Comfort SMITH were married on Swago Creek and went to Gallia County, Ohio to settle in Raccoon Township. They had nine children.
Enoch MCNEILL, the youngest, and his wife, Jane MOORE, another daughter of Moses and sister of Phoebe, remained in Pocahontas County. but only for a year, then they followed the rest to Gallia County, Ohio, settling in Huntington Township where Enoch had his first grist mill. They had five, possibly six children. Enoch died in 1821, age 39, but Jane lived to a ripe old age and was accounted for in the 1850 census. One of their daughters, Rebecca, married her first cousin, Jacob EWING, William and Mary's son.
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McNeills on Swago Creek
By 1783, the year of the Indian raid into Swago Creek Territory, the area around Swago Creek was getting a tad crowded. Where nine years before William had the place pretty much to himself, now he had neighbors aplenty. There were the LEWISES, the DAUGHTERTYS, the WADDELLS, the BUCKLEYS, the BUCKS, the MCNEILLS, the BRINDLEYS, and further south, over Rodgers Mountain at Little Levels, the MCNEELS, the KINNESONS and the HUGHES, and even further south, Joshua EWING down there on Locust Creek.
North of William on the Swago Creek, up at Stony Creek, were his brother John, the JOHNSON family, the SHARPS, and perhaps, as one descendant has it anyway, somewhere betwixt and between, Moses MOORE and his large family; also many other families whose names ring in early Pocahontas County history.
On Christmas Eve that year, 1783, William turned 27 and on the following day, Christmas Mary MCNEILL turned 12. At the time, William probably did not give much thought to his neighbors daughter at all.
But within a year and a half or so, she had changed considerably, or he had, or their chemistry had, and Swago Bill - only 10 years younger than Mary's father - found himself courting.
It seems incredible to us these days that a 13 year old girl would marry a man twice her age (or that a 13 year old girl would marry anyone!) but this is exactly what happened in the case of William EWING and Mary MCNEILL.
William was not quite 29 and Mary not quite 14 when they were married on 16 November 1785. The marriage is recorded at Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, and in the William and Mary Bible.
They set up housekeeping in the little cabin on Swago Creek and 15 months later Elizabeth arrived (15 February 1787) to start their family. The children kept coming with regularity you could almost set your clock by, and eventually, 22 years later, there were 10 sons and two daughters to make up the family of William and Mary MCNEILL EWING.
Meantime, of course, John and Ann had been bringing a family of Ewings into the world (10 in all) so James and "Sarah" saw grandchildren aplenty and no doubt relished each birth and christening as they came along. There were no deaths to mar the delight. Both John and William and their wives were in the minority as far as infant mortality was concerned back then. Neither family lost a child (and there were 22 between them) in infancy or anywhere else along the line until all had reached maturity. Fact is, William's son, James was the first of the 22 to go and that was way into 1824, after he had married and was a father.
In 1791, something happened that may boggle the mind for a bit but bear with me. Up to that point the homes of John and William were separated by a county line. William's, being south of Swago Creek, was in Greenbrier County (formed in 1777, remember?). John, being north, was in Augusta County.
But in 1791, the state government decided to create a new county and call it Bath (because of all the hot springs in the area). It carved bits and pieces from existing counties Augusta, Greenbrier and Highland and straddled both sides of the Allegheny front. When the lines were drawn the new county was found to include all of what is today Bath County, Virginia, plus most of what is today Pocahontas County, West Virginia. (No part of today's Greenbrier County was ever included as a part of Bath County). The area is now referred to a Greater Bath. For the first time since 1769, Swago Creek and Stony Creeks were in the same county. Unfortunately the men of the area had to go clear back across the Allegheny Front, Little Back Creek Mountain and Back Creek Mountain to the county seat, Warm Springs, on the Jackson River (near Muddy Run and James' old home place) to do court business, which must have been most inconvenient, especially for the Greenbrier men, who only had to go to Lewisburg before. The Augusta men had to go all the way back to Staunton, so for them, this was better.
The mind-boggling situation is that now, as of 1791, James, John and William were living in a county (Bath) whose territory included the area where they used to live, but had not lived for some 40 years.
You see how you can get confused in tracing Virginia ancestors if you do not keep your county boundaries straight from year to year?
Eventually (1821) the long distance from the county seat situation became deplorable and the electors in the western half of Greater Bath, over the divide, asked to be set off from Bath into a county of their own. Thus Pocahontas County was born. Its boundaries then were pretty much the same as they are today. The first county seat was at Huntersville, but it wasn't long before Marlinton, more centrally and conveniently located, became the seat of the county government, as it is today.
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A Wedding and Grandchildren
There is a blank of about 20 years in James' life that has us at a complete loss as to his movements and activities. From the real estate swap with Moses MOORE of about 1770 until the year 1791 there are no records or traditions to let us know where he lived or what he was up to.
He seems to have spent his last years with son William on Swago Creek. Son John was named executor of his estate but names of witnesses to James' various transactions place him nearer Little Levels than Stony Creek.
I have no idea when he might have gone from Ewing's Creek to Swago Creek, (though if J.G. MCNEILL is correct it was pre-1786) nor do I know if "Sarah" was alive when he did. Married women did not have any possessions to leave behind back then so why should there be wills and estate inventories? to, no record of "Sarah's" demise.
The first that is known of James after that 20 year gap is when he received a grant for 1,000 acres. The date was 22 June 1791, and the land was on Old Field Fork of Elk River. It was land included in a preemption warrant dated 21 Aug 1782. At the time of the grant, the 1,000 acres were in Randolph County but in the part of Randolph that became Pocahontas County when Pocahontas County was formed in 1821. Not knowing where the old Randolph County boundary was prior to 1821, I can not say exactly where the 1,000 acres might have been, but they must have lain way to the north in Pocahontas western "hump".
The Fork rises in Red Lick Mountain, north of Stony Creek, and flows north 5 or 6 miles until it hits Elk River, a major tributary of the Great Kanawha. The Fork is historic in that along its banks runs an old Indian trail known as the Warrior's Path, roughly State 219 today.
One thousand acres was the size of most military grants, and it is very possible that James' grant of 1791 was a military grant given for some prior military service. Maybe this is our proof that he was a captain of the militia. If it was a military grant then the only reason he took it was to get it to sell it and take the cash. Records show that at some time in the 1790's James sold the tract to one James SEARIGHT of Augusta County for $400. In September 1799, James, about 77 at the time, gave power of attorney to Joshua BUCKLEY who lived at the mouth of Swago Creek, to recover the $400 from SEARIGHT. A witness was Charles BUCK, a neighbor of both BUCKLEY and William EWING.
In 1799 James also had suits going against William SALISBURY and Salisbury's future son-in-law, Thomas COCHRAN, for money outstanding. I can not say what these suits were about but in September, 1799, both of them were dismissed with costs. Yet the two, along with SEARIGHT, and one John DUFFIELD were named two years later as having accounts outstanding against the estate of James EWING.
James did not leave a will but his estate was inventoried so we do know about when he died. The "Inventory of Goods and Property of James EWING, deceased" was found in Bath County records at Warm Springs by a bright-eyed descendant, Betty HOYT BENSON, in 1983. I am at a loss to know why dozens of researchers (many of whom lived very near Warm Springs) had not found it before.
John EWING SR. was executor of the estate and he, Moses MOORE, and John COCHRAN posted $1,000 bond for him.
The inventory was dated 14 July 1801, and was signed by James WADDELL, Alexander WADDELL and Joshua BUCKLEY, and was entered into the record by Thomas GATEWOOD on 4 December 1801. In it were named the above SALISBURY, COCHRAN, DUFFIELD and SEARIGHT with accounts outstanding.
The two WADDELLS and BUCKLEY reviewed it all and set it down for posterity.
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When James EWING went out, at about 79 years, his worldly goods consisted of:
1 bay horse
1 shot gun and bag
dog/day (?) buttons
cloth coat and jacket
1 pair blankets
handkerchief, 1 pack
Total amount: 26.29 pounds
Not much of a legacy. But what a legacy!
Did James dream as his life drew to a close in 1801, that because of his very existence, thousands of people would some day come into being - some, through sons, to carry on the Ewing name, other, through daughters, to spread not the name but the blood.
We are over the United States, we Ewings of whatever name, and throughout the world. We are in all walks of life. You will read in the pages ahead of how diversified we are, the ups and downs of what it is like to be a Ewing.
A lot of it has to do with how we married along the line. But a lot of it has to do with that frontiersman back there, who took on a new world, a wilderness, a savage and a king - all in one lifetime - and said, "I'm going to make it work!"
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James Ewing – The End
In 1801, John and others on the Greenbrier listened with interest to talk of a new territory - "the Territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio" - or Northwest Territory, which just two years before had come under the jurisdiction of a territorial legislature.
John knew the area, he having been an unwilling visitor to it 38 years before, and when the decision was made to move there, the land John chose was land he had traversed as a captive - George's Creek.
George's Creek empties into the Ohio about a mile north of Point Pleasant and the juncture of the Great Kanawha. John's acreage was just over a mile inland from the Ohio. He had lots 495 and 497 in Addison Township, which in the 1874 Gallia County, Ohio atlas show as being 150 acres belonging to Harvey HERN.
The 1810 Ohio Tax List shows John as "proprietor of 100 acres of third rate land in Gallia County in Range 14, Township 4" (Addison). His name last appears in the Tax Record Gallia County as proprietor of 150 acres, same township. His will, dated
9 September 1816, says: "I give and bequeath to my youngest son, Samuel Ewing, my plantation whereon I now live, lying, and being in the County of Gallia, State of Ohio, containing 200 acres."
When John moved to George's Creek in 1801, it was in Washington County but shortly thereafter the territory became a state, and eight new counties were formed, of which Gallia was one. Gallia originally included the lands comprising the present counties of Gallia, Jackson, the greater part of Lawrence, about 3/4 of Meigs and a part of Vinton.
On 10 May 1803, the new county was divided into 3 townships -LeTart, Kyger and Gallipolis - John's land being in the latter. Addison was formed in 1811.
At the time of the move, John EWING was 54 and Ann SMITH EWING, 47. With them to the new cabin came Jeanet, 20; Sarah, 18; Nancy Ann, 16; Andrew, 14; Elizabeth, 11; Lydia, 9; and Samuel, 4. William, their eldest (26) remained on Stony Creek, as did John Smith, 23. Susannah, 25, was married and lived on the Virginia side of the Ohio River, a few miles below George's Creek.
Within a short time, Sarah was married and left the nest, Jeanet following suit a year later. By 1809, only Elizabeth and Samuel were still at home.
On 8 September 1808, John and Ann disposed of some of their land in Bath County (Greater Bath) and it is so recorded in Bath County deeds. On that date "John Ewing and his wife Ann of Gallia County, Ohio," sold a grant of 1781 of 150 acres below the mouth of Beaver Licking to Joseph ARBAUGH.
Not long after that date, on 11 May 1809, Ann died.
One hundred years later descendants raised a memorial to her and John at Old Holcomb Cemetery, Vinton, Ohio. Unfortunately, either the engraver or the engraver's informant got the date wrong, and it belongs to posterity that she died in 1804, but it was definitely 1809.
It is natural to think of her as being buried at Vinton, since that is where the memorial to her is. But as she died on George's Creek in Addison Township, several miles from Vinton, no doubt her grave was in a corner of the Ewing farm in Addison, unmarked and long forgotten.
John remained on at the George's Creek plantation until at least 1816 (when he wrote his will), and after Elizabeth's marriage in 1812, had only Samuel to keep him company. (It is possible of course that any number of his children and their spouses, hence grandchildren, could have been making their homes there.)
Some time after 1816 and presumably before 1820 as he is not listed as the head of a household in the Gallia County census for that year, John left the farm to Samuel's care and went to make his home at Vinton, where son Andrew and daughters Sarah and Susannah were living at the time.
It is incredible to me, as I re-read today a letter written in 1901 to A.E. EWING from Levi HOWELL of Luray, Missouri how exactly Levi set down Indian John's life. It was that letter, which I first came on many years ago, that sent me delving for the truth. In no way did it jive with what was being passed down through the HOLCOMBS and through George and Gilbert on William EWING'S side.
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And yet it fits exactly with what I have since come on as fact and what I have set down here in previous pages.
Before I repeat it let me say that Levi's father was John Ewing HOWELL, a son of Jeanet and grandson of Indian John. John was born in 1804 and left Gallia County for good about 1861. He died in Clark County. Missouri in 1885.
He wrote, "I will here copy from "John EWING". This was made from father's memory of John Ewing's own statements, which I wrote out and read back to him. How any better tradition can be obtained, I do not see. I will copy without change of a word.
"John EWING, father of Jennette EWING was born in the State of North Carolina 27 December 1747, and died during the winter of 1824 and 1825 in Huntington Township, Gallia County, Ohio. His education was necessarily limited, yet he was a good, plain writer and showed skill in this art at an advanced age when his hand trembled as he wrote. His memory was scarcely excelled by that of Lord MACULAY. At the age of 15 he was taken prisoner by the Shawnee Indians under their famous Chief Cornstalk from the Clendennin Settlement where Lewisburg, West Virginia now stands. He was taken to "Old Chillicothe", (now Frankfort) Ohio. After two years he was released at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ann SMITH, wife of John EWING, was born in Tyrone County, Ireland, about 1755 and died in Cheshire Township, Gallia County, Ohio, 11 May 1809. James EWING, father of John EWING, was born in 1720.
"Father qualified the age of Ann SMITH EWING by her appearance. He declared that he remembered her as she looked shortly before her death. Father was only 3 years old and it is remarkable that he did not make a greater mistake in her age. Instead of 54, she really was 64, as appears by the record you sent me." (I do not know what record A.E. sent to Levi, but Ann died at exactly 54 years and 9 months.)
"The birth of James EWING, 1720, my father did emphasize, but he declined to state the date of his death. My father thought it about 1800."
I think it is remarkable what an accurate sketch on John and Ann that is. The only error is in the place of Ann's death. It was Addison township, not Cheshire, but Addison is next to Cheshire Township and the principal town of both townships was Cheshire on the Ohio River. Perhaps that accounts for the confusion.
On John's last days at Vinton, a grandson, Anselm T. HOLCOMB, put it this way:
"Here amid the quiet enjoyment of a circle of loving friends and relatives he spent the remainder of his life. Although quiet and unassuming, he possessed all the qualifications of a citizen of sterling worth."
John died, 23 December 1824, just four days short of his 77th birthday. He is buried at Old Holcomb Cemetery. Atop the monument he and Ann share is emblazoned a granite tomahawk - a fitting epitaph for Indian John.
Or is it? There were those who recalled that in his later years, John disliked talking about the period in his life of 1763 to 1765 and, in fact, whenever the subject was brought up, he would dismiss it with, "Curse and confound the Indians."
Maybe that would have been a more fitting epitaph.
JOHN EWING, SON OF JAMES
Born: 27 December 1747, Orange County, North Carolina
Died: 23 December 1824, Huntington Township, Gallia County, Ohio
Buried: Old Holcomb Cemetery, Vinton, Ohio
Born: August 1754, Tyrone County, Kingdom of Ireland
Died: 11 May 1809, Addison Township, Gallia County, Ohio
Buried: unknown gravesite
Memorial: Old Holcomb Cemetery, Vinton Cemetery, Ohio
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ISSUE of John and Ann Smith EWING:
WILLIAM EWING B: 2 March 1775
SUSANNAH EWING B: 28 September 1776
JOHN SMITH EWING B: 25 November 1778
JEANET EWING JR. B: 3 March 1781
SARAH EWING B: 21 April 1783
NANCY ANN EWING JR. B: 27 May 1785
ANDREW EWING B: 18 October 1787
ELIZABETH EWING B: 22 February 1790
LYDIA EWING B: 6 March 1792
SAMUEL EWING B: 1 May 1797
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John Ewing to Gallia County, Ohio
On 4 May 1809, baby Andrew EWING arrived on Swago Creek to give William and Mary an even dozen and, with him, their family was complete. By that time, their eldest, Elizabeth, 17, had married George DODRILL, son of Little Levels neighbors William E. and Rebecca (LEWIS) DAUGHERTY DODRILL
The year of Andrew's birth there was much talk among many of the settlers on and near the Little Levels, including the MCNEILLS, about heading out. Government land in Gallia County was being dangled before them like a lure The eastern tier of townships in Gallia was owned by private speculators or land companies, but the western tiers were government owned and were going for $2 an acre.
William's 745 acres on Swago Creek were in places, about as high as they were broad, and he may have dreamed of a home site were all those mountains were reduced to mere hills. Whatever the motive, William and his family were a part of the mass exodus from Little Levels to Gallia County in the spring of 1810. Also known to have been included were the DODRILLS, neighboring families such as Matthew EDMISTON and his wife, Jane SMITH, and John COLLINS with his wife Hannah from the other EWING family, and all the MCNEILLS except Enoch (who would go a year later) and Jonathan. This included Mary's mother, Mary HUGHES MCNEILL, then
about 70, Mary's sister, Naomi and her husband, Jonas SMITH, and her brother Gabriel and his wife, Rebecca STEPHENSON, and Absolem and his wife, Comfort SMITH.
At the last minute, William and Mary's eldest son Thomas decided he was not going anywhere unless one Anstis KELLISON came with him. Anstis was the daughter of another Little Levels pioneer, Daniel KELLISON . She accepted Thomas' proposal and her father agreed to the marriage, and they took out a bond on 6 April 1810.
For the Ewings there were three covered wagons fitted out for living quarters, 12 horses and several head of sheep, swine and cows. Much had to be carried along, including provisions for the trail, and equipment and tools for building their new home in Ohio.
The route they took to the Ohio River was probably much the same as the one LEWIS' forces had taken to Point Pleasant in 1774. It was 160 miles of rough and rocky terrain, and if you have ever been over those West Virginia mountains you have probably wondered as I did how they ever made it.
But in time, probably in about three weeks, they had arrived at Point Pleasant. Here they built rafts, and it took several trips to ferry the huge wagon train across the Ohio. And then there were still more miles to cover, for their destination was inland, 21 miles north of the HOLCOMB SETTLEMENT at Vinton, (or what would become Vinton) about 15 miles west of Gallipolis.
William and Mary had left Swago Creek without selling their land there, but on 1 December 1812, the 745 acres and the house were sold to Sampson MATTHEWS for "$1,200 current money of the State of Virginia." The land fell to Matthews' only child, a daughter who had married a MC CLINTIC, and today, that part of the land which has not been sold off is still in the MCCLINTIC FAMILY. It is known as Swago Farms.
Thanks to the MATTHEWS and MCCLINTICS being good savers, we have samples of William and Mary's signatures, for they have the original deed, or "indenture," signed by William and Mary at Gallia County 1 December 1812, before George ROBINSON, Justice of the Peace for Gallia County, Ohio.
By 1900, there was nothing to mark the site of the old William EWING home on Swago Creek except a small sink hole where the cellar was dug out and a pile of rocks marking the resting place of the chimney. I visited the spot in 1972, but prior to that my father had visited it, photographed it, and brought me back about 25 pounds of that old chimney, a flat, almost circular rock of red sandstone, now one of my treasures.
I was the fifth generation of Ewings to gaze out across those 745 acres on Swago Creek. William, Enoch, my father and me - but also Grandfather A.E., who made a pilgrimage to the place in 1903. He left an account of that trip - the whole of which makes fascinating reading, but is too long for here.
But I can not resist including a few paragraphs he wrote after being on the spot. A. E. EWING following his visit to Swago Creek, 15 August 1903:
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"Just as soon as possible after dinner we started out from the MCNEILL home for the old EWING HOMESTEAD. We went up the Swago 80 or 100 rods following the road on its right bank to a hollow leading off to our left which we followed by trail about the same distance and were on the old farm.
"The farm now belongs to Mr. MCCLINTIC. The buildings are gone and nothing remains to mark the spot where the old house stood except a pile of rocks, the remains of the old chimney. MCNEILL told us the spot was known in the community as "burnt Chimney". It seems that the old original house was torn down and rebuilt within a few feet of the same place just before the war. The site is in the midst of a cultivated field, and a pretty good field, too.
"As I studied the surrounding country, and as the bounds of the old place were here and there pointed out to us, I could but respect the judgement of the young farmer who, 125 years ago, went into the wilderness and blazed a line around the land he would call his own. Why he went into the mountains at all, I cannot understand, but he certainly took the best to be had in that locality. I felt a keen pride in being the great-grandson of William Ewing, the first owner of that tract of land.
"On all sides of the tract were mountains, and some mountain land was included.
"I wish I had time to express the train of thoughts that ran through my mind while standing by the old Burnt Chimney. Here was the exact spot were my grandfather, Enoch EWING, and all his brothers and sisters were born. Here was the door yard of his babyhood, and the playground of his youth 100 years ago. Here he spent the first 10 years of his life. Here he first learned to be useful and industrious. Here he heard the stories of Indian warfare and hunting expeditions as told by his father and neighbors.
"The impressions made on his mind during those 10 years never left him, and he never tired of telling of his old Virginia home.
"In front of where the house stood 10 or 15 rods was a spring where they got their water. The old road which led out to the mountain road toward the MCNEILL farms was plainly marked by cuts and depressions, but pretty well covered by briers and bushes along the fence built exactly upon the course. It is believed that this was the field from which William EWING was removing his plow when the Indians got after him and it is not to be doubted that this was the route he took in running away from them, for it leads in the direction of the old fort at Mill Point, and answers all essentials of the story. There was the hill over which he ran, and behind which he ran up the hollow and hid. It must have been an ideal place for concealment. But had the Indians followed him instead of the regular trail, it might have been very embarrassing, for a few rods distant looms up a perpendicular stone wall much higher than he could have climbed. I bow, however, to his judgement, for he made good his escape, and reached the fort in safety, otherwise this story would never have been handed down to succeeding generations."
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William Ewing in Gallia County, Ohio
The William EWINGS arrived at their new location on the banks of the Raccoon Creek, some 17 miles inland from the Ohio River, in the Spring of 1810. They were there in time for William and son, Thomas to be counted when the first meeting in the newly created township of Huntington was held for election purposes, the first Saturday in July.
At that time, the families in Huntington Township were few and far between. Only 18 men were present for that first meeting, which took place at the Stephen HOLCOMB home, 18 men representing the handful of families then present in that wilderness, among them the HOLCOMBS, of course, Stephen and Samuel, also George and Isaac TYLER, William GLENN, Benjamin MILLS, William WOODS and a few others. Most of these inhabitants were living along the banks of the Raccoon and two or three of its feeder streams the entire length of the township.
But it was not long before newcomers flocked to the place and by 1820 there were 75 proprietors owning land and homes in the township.
William made arrangements to buy his land from the government. He bought the entire northeast quarter of Section 11, 160 acres, for which he paid $2 an acre - $80 down and $80 a year until paid. On 22 July 1817, he received a grant, signed by President James MONROE which made the land his.
Adjoining his land, was his son Thomas', the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 2.
Father and son must have shuddered when they gazed at their land and contemplated the task that lay before them. Theirs were, combined, 240 acres of timber, all of which must be converted to farmland. That meant taking an ax to - how many thousands of trees? It meant reducing the trunks to logs for cabins, cutting smaller pieces into rails for fences and for firewood for many winters to come, burning the brush and then - with back-breaking labor - dragging out the stumps for burning also.
How grateful William must have been for the strong
backs of his older sons! Probably even little Jacob, 8 in 1818, was put to work in some way.
But before long, forest became meadow, crops were planted, and the two Ewing farms of William and Thomas were born.
It was then and only then that William gave thought to a permanent home for his family. A temporary structure had been erected on their arrival at the Raccoon, and this served as shelter while the big house was being built.
The spot William choose for the house was in the large meadow in the south half of his quarter section, buck quite a ways from the banks of the Raccoon. He and his sons worked on it whenever weather and farm chores permitted. It took two years but finally, in the Spring of 1812, Calla House (as it was called for a time in later years) was ready of occupancy.
The Ewing home was the first two-story house of hewn logs in the entire township, and the first to have a stone chimney as well. I have never been in it, but from examining photos I conclude that the downstairs was one big room, perhaps with a sleeping alcove for the parents. For the nine sons and one daughter still at home, there must have been a division of rooms upstairs. With that many beds necessary, the boys may have had to sleep in shifts!
To the rear of the house was a smaller building, also of logs, which probably served as the spring house for storage of dairy products and vegetables.
This was the home William and Mary and their family moved into in the Spring of 1812.
1812 was the year of the United States of America's first war. The effect that war had on Huntington Township was negligible. Edward TUPPER was named General of militia in Gallia County, and two colonels, ROADARMOUR and WOMELDORFF, raised regiments, but that did not come until 1813, and the purpose was to go against the Maumee Indians of northeast Ohio. The only one of William and Mary's sons known to have joined the fray was William Jr. who signed on in Captain William S. DRAKE'S Company, for service 14 February to 14 August 1813. Thomas was exempt because of a physical disability. Jonathan, James and John were old enough (and Enoch may have wished he were) but if they served, that has not come down through the ages.
1812 was a milestone in Ewing history for another reason.
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There was peace and happiness on the Raccoon for awhile, and William and Mary's life was devoted to seeing to the farm and home and the wants and needs of their children.
Of the 10 children still at home, the first to leave the nest was James, who was married to Mary MCMILLIN 1 August 1816. On 22 May 1819 James bought from William and Mary land east across the Raccoon in Section 12, 103 acres part of the southwest quarter. Five months later on 16 January 1817, Jonathan married Mary's sister, Margaret, and they set up housekeeping on Jonathan's property nearby.
A year after that, William Jr. was married on 26 March 1818, to Sarah MANNERING and his father sold him acreage in the northwest corner of his quarter on the Raccoon. Within three weeks John had married Rebecca COLLINS, 15 April 1818, but they went to Jackson county to live, possibly in her parents' home.
Then for some reason Enoch decided to go into a "bachelor pad." He was not married until 1821, but by 1820 he owned a place of his own in Huntington Township - house and lot, two horses and three veal and cattle.
The rash of marriages and Enoch's departure left only Sarah, Jacob, Abram, George and Andrew still at home in 1820. By that time Swago Bill was 63 and apparently ailing. He drew up his will on 8 January 1820, and started it "....being weak in body..."
Because Thomas, Jonathan and James were well established in homes of their own by then, they were not named in the will. William Jr., also established, was given "the land lying and being across the creek on the east side of his improvements and adjoining the same." Enoch, likewise already a landowner, became heir to "a tract of land lying in Greenbrier County containing 120 acres."
It was the four youngest brothers still at home, Jacob, Abram, George and Andrew, plus John, married and gone from home but still unpropertied, who were the principal beneficiaries after Mary. "I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Mary EWING, my dwelling house and furniture with all appurtenances belonging thereto." But at her decease "the plantation where she now lives" was to be equally divided between the five sons.
As can be seen, neither of the daughters were mentioned at all, not even Sarah, who at that point in time had no husband to look after her.
William's will was witnessed by Edward MCMILLIN, friend and neighbor and the father of Mary and Margaret who had married James and Jonathan, as well as John EWING JR., William's brother, and Thomas EWING, William's son.
The will lay on the shelf for almost three years. In the meantime there was Enoch's wedding to Susannah RADABAUGH, 20 December 1821, and their removal to Jackson County, Ohio, and a steady stream of grandchildren arriving to warm the old soldier's heart. There would eventually be 83 of these. William lived to see at least 18 of them, perhaps 20. (Two were born the year he died, exact birthdates not known.)
William turned 65 on Christmas Eve, 1821. He lingered on through the spring of 1822, then summer and then early fall. No doubt his mind wandered back to the days that went before - roaming the West Virginia mountains, tracking deer, bear and Indians, discovering Swago Creek and claiming it for his own, the expedition to Point Pleasant, the return there in 1777 when he became an unwilling witness to the slaying of Chief Cornstalk, his and Mary's wedding, the arrival of their dozen children, the move to Ohio, and the turning of a forest into a farm.
It was on 7 October 1822 - three days short of the 48th anniversary of the Battle of Point Pleasant - that William EWING closed his eyes for the eternal rest.
Some years before Thomas had set aside a plot, a shady glen in the southeast corner of his farm in Section 1 for a cemetery. Apparently the first to be buried there was Mary's mother, Mary HUGHES MCNEILL, though no stone marks the spot. The second was Thomas and Anstis' daughter Rebecca in about 1818.
Now Swago Bill was the third to be buried in the plot. The little graveyard is generally known today as the Ewing Cemetery, but was called Isaac's Burying Field by the family of later occupants of the land.
A stone was put in place saying:
Oct. 7, 1822
Age: 66y 9m 13d
(Actually it was 65 years, 9 months 13 days)
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In later years the DAR caused a flag to be placed at the grave as testimony to William EWING's service in the Revolution.
Mary was only 50 when her husband died and, of course, for her, life had to go on. With typical pioneer-woman determination, Mary managed the Raccoon Creek farm. and what she could not take care of she rented out to her sons, always making sure, so word has it, that she was there at harvest time to collect her share.
And there were births, deaths, and marriages among her family for her to concern herself with. First, in 1823, Sarah was married to John WALLACE of Vinton, Ohio. In 1824, James died, leaving his widow with four youngsters. He was buried near his father in the graveyard on Thomas' farm. In 1825, Jacob married Rebecca MCNEILL, his first cousin. (which caused quite a furor in the two families). There was another wedding in 1827 when George took Rosanna KNOX as his bride. It appears that these newlyweds lived on at Calla House.
The year 1827 also saw two deaths in the family. John died in Milton Township, Jackson County, Ohio, where he is apparently buried, and Sarah died in Vinton, Ohio, possibly in Childbirth, the baby dying also. At least she left no progeny. Her gravesite is not marked.
With Abram's marriage in 1828 to Elizabeth Ann BOWMAN, and their removal to a large farm at Vinton next to her father, George BOWMAN. Calla House must have seemed empty indeed. Only the "baby" Andrew, George and Rosanna, and their children who started arriving in 1828 were there to help fill the home. It is possible that there were four other occupants in the house - Mary's grandchildren orphaned on the death of their mother, John's widow, Mary MCMILLIN EWING , in 1831. The children, Esther, Addison, Phoebe and Rebecca, were 12, 10, 9, and 8 at the time of their mother's death. They may have been taken in by any of the McMillin family, and of John's siblings (particularly Jonathan, whose wife was also a McMillin) - or by Mary.
All this time Andrew was still a bachelor and remained so all through the 1830s. But about 1839, when he was 30, he began to give serious thought to the 22 year old Taphena HOLCOMB, daughter of neighbors Rueben and Rebecca (NILES) HOLCOMB.
When Taphena said yes to his proposal, Andrew bought 73 acres in Wilkesville, which was then in Gallia county, only a few miles up the road from the Ewings. (A year later, in 1840, Gallia was changed to Vinton County.)
The two were married 16 February 1840, and shortly thereafter they moved into their new home.
And Mary went with them. Why the 69 year old mother did not remain on at Calla House, which had been her home for 28 years, with George and family will never be known. Move to Wilkesville she did, leaving the house and farm in George's care. Within two years, in 1842, George built for himself and family an enormous frame home on the edge of the property, at what was soon to be the main intersection in the town of Ewington. When they moved into their new home, the old log cabin may have been rented out for a time. In 1854, George's son John R. EWING and his bride, Rachel HAWK, mover in, to stay two years or so. In 1856 John bought the William EWING JR. land on the Raccoon from Junior's heirs, and moved into the home on the property.
Who occupied Calla House in the next four decades? I wish I knew. Someone did, for it was habitable (though in a sate of disrepair) when Robert Brown EWING, George's grandson, returned to Ewington in 1900 and moved into Calla House. No doubt it was Robert who refurbished Calla House - and gave it its name, from the Calamas swamp nearby.
At some point in time Swago Bill's old stone chimney was replaced with one of brick. The log milk house in back, which had all but collapsed gave way to a "modern" garage-type shed. Someone at some time covered the old square-hewn logs on the north side with clapboard siding, which by 1900 had fallen off in places, giving that side a ramshackle appearance. Small windows on the north side by the chimney were added and then disappeared over the years.
When Robert and his family moved in, they set about to "neaten" the place up. A picket fence was erected to enclose the immediate door year, apple trees were planted, a new lean-to, this one with its own fireplace and chimney, replaced the older one in back, and other improvements made, and the 78 year old house became a home again.
The Robert EWINGS were not there very long, though only two or three years, but there were happy years, the occupants later reported.
The property, Calla House included, went from George EWING to his son Gilbert, to a VANCE, back to a Ewing again when Dr. George Knox EWING bought it from VANCE and finally, in 1917, to Walter and Donie POLSLEY and family.
The POLSLEYS farmed all those acres for many years, but when Walter died in 1947, his son Fred and Fred's wife Ernestine sold the acreage to the OILERS, retaining only the 105 year old George EWING home for themselves.
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When the Polsleys moved to Ewington in 1917, there were people living in Calla House, Fred told me, but they did not remain long, and when they left, Fred used the place as a cattle barn, "always taking good care of it," he said. The Polsleys were probably the ones to add a fourth window to the downstairs front of the house, and to replace the lean-to out in back with a new one, minus chimney.
At some time between about 1958 and 1966, Calla House went the way of all old log cabins. The home of 1812 had outlived its usefulness. It had seen something like 150 years, and it was tired.
The meadow is still there. The Raccoon still flows and cattle still graze.
But the Ewing home is no more.
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Mary McNeill Ewing
Mary and Andrew and his family remained in Wilkesville 13 years. In that time Mary lost another of her sons, William Jr., who died in 1847. His widow, Sarah, and some of her children went to Wilkesville to live near Mary and the rest of the family.
In 1852, George realized a dream of long-standing when he created the town of Ewington. He surveyed and platted and soon the few blocks of a town - a tiny village, really - became a spot on the Gallia County map. His own 14-room home was at the crossroads of the town, facing the north-south road, Vinton to Wilkesville, and siding on the east-west road Ewington to Durgan.
Three years later two residents of the township, A.E. MCCARLEY and Dr. E.A. EDMISTON, platted the MCCARLEY-EDMISTON Addition, extending George's town to the west by a few blocks. It was in that addition that the post office, the Ewington Academy and the Methodist Church later appeared.
A large block in the town was given over for a cemetery and it came at a good time. It appears that in the summer of 1852 there was a terrible diphtheria epidemic in Ewington, and all the young victims were buried in Ewington Cemetery.
The first burial of record in the Ewington Cemetery was that of George DODRILL, Mary's grandson, who died 11 March 1852, age 25. The next was his mother, Elizabeth EWING DODRILL, who died 30 June 1852, age 65. The only other burial in 1852, except for those I am about to tell of, was that of Sarah EWING MANNERING, Mary's granddaughter, who died 5 August 1852, age 35.
All the other burials in 1852 - and there were eight of them - took place during a three-week period in July, and at least seven of those were children under 8, three from one family!
The deaths went like this:
July 7 William MCCARLEY, 8
Allen T. MCCARLEY, 1
July 12 Iva Milda MCCARLEY, 5
July 16 William EDMISTON, age not given but noted as " a son of A. and D.H.", indicating youth
July 18 Catherine HOLCOMB , 5
July 22 Hiram NILES, 1
Cynthia MCCARLEY, 3
July 27 Mary E. MCCARLEY, 3
John GRAY, 1, also died in 1852, exact date not noted.
It certainly smacked of an epidemic time, and to a medical person with whom I spoke, as well.
The reason I suspect diphtheria is because it is known that is what Annie EWING, daughter of George and Rosanna EWING died of. She was said to have been the first to be buried in Ewington cemetery, though no stone marks the spot, and the exact date of her death is not known. It had to have been in 1852, as the cemetery did not exist before then. Annie was 14 in 1852. (She was 12 in the 1850 census.)
I am beginning to suspect that she was not the first to be buried there, but the third (after the DODRILL mother and son) and that her death on, say 6 July 1852, of diphtheria led off the terrible epidemic of the next three weeks.
In 1838, Mary's grandson William Coleman DODRILL, married Taphena's sister, Amanda HOLCOMB. At some time prior to 1847 William and Amanda heard the call of the West so many were hearing at the time. They were soon on their way to Iowa, going first to Van Buren county, where others of the family, especially HOLCOMBS, were, and then to Wayne County (South Fork Township) where they spent the rest of their lives.
It may have been that William and Amanda sent back word to Andrew and Taphena that land could be had in South Fork for $1 and $1.25 an acre. Or maybe it was that Taphena was just plain eager to be near her sister. In any event, in 1852 Andrew and family started formulating plans to join the Great Migration. Destination: a spot near William and Amanda in Wayne County with the optimistic name of Promise City.
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It was decided that Mary should go too.
In 1852 Mary could turn 81 at the end of December. She had outlived six of her children, Jonathan having died in 1850 out in Hancock County, Illinois, where he and his family had gone in 1849. And one of her remaining six, Enoch, who had lived in Jackson County those 21 years since his marriage, and his family were about to take off themselves, but in a different direction - Michigan.
Mary could have had a home with any one of her sons remaining in Ewington and Vinton, Thomas, Abram, George or Jacob, and Enoch was begging her to go with them to Michigan. What made Mary cast her lot with Andrew?
As A.E. EWING put it:
"The little Scotch girl of the Virginia mountains, who dared at 14 to become the wife of a backwoodsman of twice her age was not the woman of 81 to be afraid of an overland trip of 500 miles by wagon."
And so preparations were made for a comfortable (more or less) journey for Mary.
Rarely in that day and age did a family take to the road by itself. Usually it was a wagontrain full of family and neighbors. But I am at a loss to find any familiar names in Wayne County records, except the DODRILLS. The only family known to have been heading that way at all in 1853 was Indian John's youngest, Samuel. He and his four motherless children, who had Van Buren County as a destination, probably were aboard when the wagontrain pulled out.
When the day came that the Ewings left Wilkesville, many of the family were there to see them off. One was Mary's granddaughter, Letha EWING, who recalled 60 years later for A.E.:
"I remember her as a woman of medium height, but quite stout. Her eyes were blue, and her hair had turned white. She could ride horseback, but had to mount from an elevation. She left for the west in a wagon, and had a ladder for her own special use in getting in and out of her wheeled cabin."
The party was delayed for a bit by sickness in Indiana, and there had to be a stop, naturally, in Hancock County, Illinois, for the first unofficial EWING reunion there. Then the Mississippi had to be crossed, and no doubt there was a stop in Van Buren County, across the river and into Iowa, to visit with the many kin who lived there.
But finally they arrived in South Fork Township, Wayne County, Iowa, just north of Promise City; and not very far from the DODRILLS in Section 9. And there they settled. And there on 5 February 1855, Abner EWING, Andrew and Taphena's eighth, was born.
They did not remain at Promise City long. Within five years of their arrival, the wagon was loaded up again and they were off,this time just south a few miles over the state line to the neighboring county of Mercer, Missouri.
There home was near the town of Ravenna in Summersett Township.
And it was there, in June 1858, at the age of 86, that Mary MCNEILL EWING died. She is buried in an unmarked grave, probably on some corner of Andrew's old farm (which he left not long after), her place long forgotten.
But she was to be remembered. In 1913, 55 years later, A.E. started a campaign among her descendants to raise money for a monument to her beside her husband's in the little burying ground in a corner of Thomas EWING'S farm.
A.E. wrote a little pamphlet telling of her life as he knew it then, (many errors now!) It went out under the name of the committee: Sadie PORTER COOPER, Detroit, Michigan, chairman; Jane WHITE MARTIN, Camden, Michigan, treasurer, and A.E. EWING, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Secretary.
In it A.E. wrote: "But as Mary was born and bred in the wilderness, so she died and was buried in the wilderness, and no one knows the location of her grave. The spot is unmarked. It is this fact that causes us to write this letter. Mary MCNEILL EWING , the child wife of William EWING , the girl mother of twelve, the grandmother of eight-one, the great grandmother of hundreds, the pioneer of four states, and the comrade of toil and hardship,has not even a pine board to mark her resting place or to identify her with the clan which has so much reason to be proud of her."
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The contributions came in - not just from William and Mary's descendants, but some of Indian John's too. I have a list of the donors and their donations. It's incredible to us today but most of the contributions were 10 cents, some 25 cents, and a few $1.00. (By contrast, not long ago I sent one of the pamphlets to a cousin in Missouri, just so she would have a story about her ancestor. She did not look at the date on the pamphlet, and thought it was my request, and sent me a check - for $5.00.)
A.E. contributed the printing and postage but pledged $20.00 if it was needed. E.B. MATTHEWS of Jackson also pledged $20.00. and Anselm T. HOLCOMB of Portsmouth, Ohio who had an interest in a monument company, offered to obtain the marker at a discount.
Eventually some $115.00 was raised and Mary MCNEILL EWING, "the greatest little grandmother," has granite testimony to her existence.
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